Montessori Society AMI (UK)

Research on Montessori

Montessori: The Science Behind The Genius

Current scientific research provides astounding support for Montessori's major insights. In her Book 'Montessori: the Science behind the Genius' Angeline 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. This book gives parents and teachers alike a clear understanding of what happens in a Montessori classroom and, more importantly, why it happens and why it works.

You can also purchase the whole book from our online shop.

Published Studies

1. Montessori Education Provides Better Outcomes than Traditional Methods

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. 

2. Montessori and Optimal Experience Research: Toward Building a Comprehensive Education Reform

This article serves as a Montessori introduction to the Rathunde piece cited below. David Kahn explores the Montessori concept of normalisation, comparing it to Mihaly Csikszentmihaly's ‘flow’ construct. 

3. A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience and Social Context

With the help of co-investigator Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Dr. Rathunde compared the experiences and perceptions of middle school students in Montessori and traditional schools using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). Montessori students reported a significantly better quality of experience in their academic work than did traditional students. In addition, Montessori students perceived their schools as a more positive community for learning, with more opportunities for active, rather than passive, learning. 

4. Montessori Education and Optimal Experience: A Framework for New Research

This article provides the theoretical and conceptual foundation for ‘A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools’. It is the result of a research commission from NAMTA, under the supervision of NAMTA's Director of Research, Annette M. Haines. Working from a perspective outside the Montessori community, Dr. Rathunde puts Montessori’s rich understanding of the prepared environment and children’s concentration in tandem with contemporary thought in both education and developmental psychology. 

5. Optimal Developmental Outcomes: The Social, Moral, Cognitive, and Emotional Dimensions of a Montessori Education

This series of articles (including a new introduction by Annette Haines, NAMTA's Director of Research) spells out optimal outcomes of Montessori education for the early childhood, elementary, and adolescent years. Haines states, ‘we find the possibility of an educational continuum that extends naturally along a developmental path from birth to adulthood. It is hoped that the delineation of this path within the three distinct developmental stages will enable educators to look at students and schools from a new perspective.’ 

6. Outcomes for Students in a Montessori Program: A Longitudinal Study of the Experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools

This study supports the hypothesis that Montessori education has a positive long-term impact. Additionally, it provides an affirmative answer to questions about whether Montessori students will be successful in traditional schools. A significant finding in this study is the association between a Montessori education and superior performance on the Maths and Science scales of the ACT and WKCE. In essence, attending a Montessori program from the approximate ages of three to eleven predicts significantly higher mathematics and science standardised test scores in high school. 

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