Montessori Research

Why Tools of the Mind and Montessori Educational Approaches Can Help Executive Function Skills

A seminar at Virginia Tech

“Executive functions” (EFs) refer to the cognitive-control abilities dependent on the prefrontal cortex, such as selective attention, self-control, problem-solving, reasoning, and not getting into trouble. These abilities can be improved through training and practice. They are also particularly susceptible to disruption by stress, lack of sleep, loneliness, or lack of exercise. Conversely, what nourishes the human spirit, it turns out, is also best for the exercise of EFs.

Read More

View a copy of Dr. Diamond's slides from this lecture

Key elements of a public Montessori school.

Convincing your local public schools to establish a new program is essentially an exercise in the American democratic process. Ideally, a core group of parents will find support from among some of the teachers, administrators, and local members of the school board.

Making the case for an alternative program within the public schools is rarely easy. In the case of Montessori programs, parents may find the challenge even greater. On the other hand, almost all of the public programs that have developed and succeeded are the result of a determined group of parents. The primary challenge is to plan correctly and implement fully a complete Montessori program.

The Longitudinal Analysis of Performance of Students in APS Prekindergarten Programs - Hanover Research Council, Prepared for Arlington Public Schools

In this report, The Hanover Research Council examines the ongoing performance of a cohort of students who participated in APS prekindergarten programs, including Montessori, Virginia Preschool Initiative, Special Education, and Dual Enrolled Special Education, along with students who did not participate in such programs. Performance measures include a variety of assessments conducted between kindergarten and the fifth grade, such as PALS, DRP, and SOL tests.

by Angeline Lillard and Nicole Else-Quest

Montessori education is a 100-year-old method of schooling that was first used with impoverished preschool children in Rome. The program continues to grow in popularity. Estimates indicate that more than 5000 schools in the United States--including 300 public schools and some high schools--use the Montessori program. Montessori education is characterized by multi-age classrooms, a special set of educational materials, student-chosen work in long time blocks, collaboration, the absence of grades and tests, and individual and small group instruction in both academic and social skills. The effectiveness of some of these elements is supported by research on human learning.

A study comparing outcomes of children at a public inner-city Montessori school with children who attended traditional schools indicates that Montessori education leads to children with better social and academic skills.

by Dr. Angeline Lillard

Lillard presents the research concerning eight insights that are foundational to Montessori education and describes how each of these insights is applied in the Montessori classroom.

by Marcella Dawson

Available scores from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and Metropolitan Achievement Test-6 tests, administered between 1984 and 1988 to 88 students enrolled in a Montessori magnet program in the Houston Independent School District, were statistically analyzed.

by Wendy Robinson

Addressing the many complex issues associated with culture, race, and diversity is tough under any circumstances. But such issues become even more complex in school settings where large numbers of students speak different languages and reflect diverse ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. In this article, the author describes how the faculty members and the administrators at Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) in Indiana found a balance between quality education and student diversity. FWCS offers a district-wide school choice program that features a number of different educational offerings. Interestingly, as the district's student population (nearly 32,000) has become increasingly diverse--it now has about 80 languages/dialects represented by students--its Montessori magnet program has grown more successful. The author also relates that FWCS' Montessori magnet program is superbly suited to prepare students to flourish in culturally and racially diverse environments. As such, it is highly in demand among parents.

by Linda Jacobson

A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. At Montessori schools, students are given tasks called "practical life" exercises. In these exercises, students learn to take care of themselves and their environment. Students at the Robert Goddard Montessori School are also familiar with the drill of workbooks, testing sheets, and homework--features that would never be part of a private Montessori school. The pre-K-8 school in the 134,000-student Prince George's County school district outside Washington is responsible for staying true to the teachings of its founder, Maria Montessori, and also for preparing students to score high enough on Maryland tests so that the school can meet its target for adequate yearly progress, or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The 350-some public Montessori schools across the country are feeling the same pressures. This article shares the sentiments of public Montessori schools to the testing and accountability mandates of the No Child Left Behind law that run counter to the beliefs Maria Montessori held about how children learn. It also discusses the concrete changes that they have had to address under the law.