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What is a Montessori School? - Benefits
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Angeline Stoll Lillard's award-winning 2005 book Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius (Oxford University Press) presents the first really comprehensive overview evaluating Montessori versus conventional education in terms of research relevant to their underlying principles. Lillard cites research indicating that Montessori's basic methods are more suited to what psychology research reveals about human development, and argues the need for more research.

A 2006 study published in the journal "Science" concluded that Montessori students (at ages 5 and 12) performed better than control students who had years prior lost the random computerized lottery to go to Montessori and instead went to a variety of different conventional schools. This better perfomance was obtained in a variety of arenas, including not only traditional academic areas such as language and math, but in social skills as wel.

On several dimensions, children at a public inner city Montessori school had superior outcomes relative to a sample of Montessori applicants who, because of a random lottery, attended other schools. By the end of kindergarten, the Montessori children performed better on standardized tests of reading and math, engaged in positive interaction on the playground more, and showed advanced social cognition and executive control more. They also showed more concern for fairness and justice. At the end of elementary school, Montessori children wrote more creative essays with more complex sentence structures, selected more positive responses to social dilemmas, and reported feeling more of a sense of community at their school.

The authors concluded that, "when strictly implemented, Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools." Research by K. Dohrmann and colleagues supplements this by showing superior math and science performance in high school by children who previously attended public Montessori (as compared to high school classmates, over half of whom were at the most selective city public high schools); and two studies by Rathunde and Csikszentmihalyi showing a higher level of interest and motivation while doing school work as well as more positive social relations among Montessori middle-schoolers as opposed to matched controls.



 
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