Saturday, March 27, 2010

Research Findings

I certainly realize the positive effects of Montessori in children, but I was curious about research findings for children who stay the full three years in the Primary classroom (3-6).  I enjoy when parents keep in touch after their kindergarteners leave my school.  I can almost hear them beaming through the phone when they describe their children's success in school.  Just recently, a graduating family called to tell me that at conference time the teacher commented that she'd like to clone the Montessori students that joined their class in first grade.  She noted that the children think outside the box, show respect for others, and genuinely enjoy the learning process.  What an affirmation for these Montessori parents who, the year before, struggled to make that crucial decision about whether or not to stay for the third year.

The Montessori Foundation has performed a great deal of reserach on the topic.  In 2006, they concluded that at the end of the third year, Montessori kindergarteners "were significantly better prepared for elementary school, outscoring their peers in reading and math skills.  They also tested better on 'executive function' the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems. This is an indicator of future school and life success."

Some additional research findings:
  • Montessori students scored 10 - 20 points higher on the California Achievement Test compared with students in traditional classrooms.
  • Minority students enrolled in a Montessori program scored higher on self-concept, mathematical and geometric concepts, vocabulary recognition, attention strategies, and general intelligence.
  • 75% of low SES children who attended a Montessori preschool in Cleveland, Ohio, scored above school norms on the California Achievement Test.
  • Increases in attention strategies, general intelligence, and academic achievement occurred over time by Montessori students from all socioeconomic levels.
Despite negative misconceptions about the social aspect of Montessori classrooms, findings show enhanced social development.  "Montessori children in their kindergarten year demonstrated greater social development in the areas of sense of reasoning, justice, and fairness. They were more likely to engage in emotionally positive play with peers, and less likely to engage in rough, aggressive forms of play. By the end of their elementary program, Montessori children offered more positive solutions to social challenges."

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. 


  1. Hi:

    This month's issue of Tomorrow's Child (a publication for Parents by the Montessori Foundation) discusses a lot of the more recent research. I wish ALL parents could read it on a regular basis.

  2. Thank you for that info, Cynthia. I look forward to reading it!