Montessori is Backed by Research
Controlling the environment, not the child
Montessori classrooms are very organized in terms of layout and how a child progresses through the materials. Children are encouraged to pursue their own interests and decide what materials to work on in a given day. Scientific research has shown that this freedom of choice within a carefully designed and ordered structure is linked to better psychological and learning outcomes.
Children thrive on order, routine, and ritual.
We learn best when we are interested in what we are learning about.
People thrive when they feel a sense of choice and control.
We learn best when our learning is situated in meaningful contexts.
Extrinsic rewards reduce motivation and level of performance once the rewards are removed.
Children can learn very well from and with peers; after age 6 children respond well to collaborative learning situations.
Angeline Stoll Lillard, Ph.D.
Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius
The impact of early development
In The Absorbent Mind, Dr. Montessori wrote, "The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement is being formed… At no other age has the child greater need of intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection."
Modern psychological studies based on controlled research have confirmed her theory. After analyzing thousands of these studies, Dr. Benjamin S. Bloom of the University of Chicago wrote in Stability and Change in Human Characteristics, "From conception to age 4, the individual develops 50% of his mature intelligence; from ages 4 to 8 he develops another 30%... This would suggest the very rapid growth of intelligence in the early years and the possible great influence of the early environment on this development."
Aline D. Wolf
A Parent's Guide to the Montessori Classroom
Making theories reality
Dr. Montessori's theories, based on scientific observation of children's learning processes, have been borne out in classrooms throughout the world and are becoming integrated in our educational system.
Today's kindergarten classrooms use the child-sized furniture and educational materials first introduced by Montessori. Such current concepts as individualized instruction, manipulative learning, ungraded classes, multi-age classrooms, team teaching, and open classrooms reflect her early insights--a testament to her revolutionary thinking.