Is the Montessori method superior to the average public school method?
In 2006, Dr. Angeline Lillard (UVA) and her colleagues conducted a study of Montessori and non-Montessori students in two age groups: five-year-olds and twelve-year-olds. The results of this study indicated that the kindergarten-aged Montessori children tested higher in both math and reading than the public school children, using the Woodcock-Johnson Test Battery. The Montessori students also displayed more advanced social cognition and executive control, and demonstrated a greater concern over concepts of fairness and justice. The older group of Montessori children evinced a stronger feeling of community in their school than their public school counterparts and tested higher in math and writing skills.
An earlier study, conducted in 1991 by Alcillia Clifford and Carol Takacs, reached much the same conclusion. In general, Montessori students were more proficient at language arts, mathematics and expressed more positive attitudes towards their schools. This study concluded that Montessori students were more likely than public school students to complete their education rather than dropping out.
The success of a Montessori school is largely dependent upon the qualities and gifts of the director and teachers. Some schools will be superior to others. Parents should actively interview and investigate any Montessori classroom to which they might be considering sending their child. Statistics like the above indicate that Montessori-educated children test higher and have better social skills than their public school peers, but it remains vital that the parent choose wisely for the individual child.