Montessori Initiative

Investigating the Impact of Montessori Education in Public Schools (2018 – 2023)

The Montessori method takes a whole child approach, developing the intellectual, moral, emotional and behavioral skills of children. While high-fidelity Montessori education in the public sector has been shown to promote positive outcomes for children, more research is needed that uses rigorous designs with larger sample sizes to investigate if Montessori education is equally effective across cultural groups and if it moderates the effects of lower family income. For example, Dr. Angeline Lillard’s recent study of public Montessori in Hartford, Connecticut was rigorous but small, with only 2 school sites and not enough ethnic variability to conduct subgroup analyses concerning cultural background. The recent Furman University study on public Montessori programs in South Carolina was large enough to compare ethnic/racial subgroups but was not a randomized controlled trial.

This study capitalizes on school lotteries that will randomize the initial study sample of children at the age of 3 and follow them over 3 years through kindergarten. Participants will be drawn from sites across the US. Study results are expected to be made public by the end of 2023.

Research teams at Child Trends and The Riley Institute at Furman University will collect the data for the multi-site study, and a team based at the University of Kansas Center for Montessori Research will be responsible for data management.

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