Evidence-based Education

The Montessori program is not only a unique philosophy offering parents an alternative to the traditional schooling system. The Montessori Method has been demonstrated to improve education outcomes for children in multiple different settings and variables.

For an online database on Montessori articles, visit: 


Two-Ways thinking and Two-Eyed Seeing as ways of implementing Indigenous perspectives in the science education curriculum

In this paper, the researchers discuss the resistance and barriers to the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum for educators. Strategies such as the Two-Ways or Two-Eyed Seeing are presented as approaches are seen as a functional way of bridging Indigenous and Western cultures for policy makers, curriculum developers, educators and teachers, and ultimately students.

Michie, M., Hogue, M. & Rioux, J. (2023) Two-Ways thinking and Two-Eyed Seeing as ways of implementing Indigenous perspectives in the science education curriculum. Discip Interdscip Sci Educ Res 5, 23 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43031-023-00084-3

Montessori education in Australian schools: charting a path

Eacott, S; Munoz Rivera, F; Wainer, C; Raad, A (2022)

The introduction of Montessori teaching and learning practices in an early childhood classroom in a remote Indigenous school

Holmes, C. (2016) Master by Dissertation, The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle. 

Montessori education in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands

Holmes, C. (2018) Journal of Montessori Research, 4(2), 33-60. 

The Montessori method, Aboriginal students and Linnaean zoology taxonomy teaching: three-staged lesson

Rioux J, Ewing B, & Cooper TJ. (2019). The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education. 1–11. 

Convergence and Divergence of Ethnomathematics (D’Ambrosio) and Mathematics (Montessori): An Ethnomathematics Program

Rioux, J. (2021). E-article. Montessori Australia. Issue 4 November. 

Montessori Educators and the Australian Early Years Learning Framework in Montessori Early Childhood Environments in Western Australia: A qualitative study

Stevens, R. (2020).  Master by Research, University of Western Australia.

Montessori Classrooms in Australia: An English as an International Language Perspective

Leung, Jennifer (2015) Master by Dissertation, Monash University, Australia


Why the Time is Ripe for an Education Revolution

Education is now ripe for a paradigm shift in its instructional model, away from teacher-text-centered learning and to highly structured instructional environments that support self-construction through limited free choice. 

Lillard AS (2023) Why the time is ripe for an education revolution. Front. Dev. Psychol. 1:1177576. doi: 10.3389/fdpys.2023.1177576

Global Diffusion of Montessori Schools: A Report From the 2022 Global Montessori Census

The 2022 Global Montessori Census identified 15,763 Montessori schools in 154 countries, roughly 9% of which are government funded. Countries with the largest number of Montessori schools are the United States, China, Thailand, Germany, Canada, and Tanzania.

Debs, M., de Brouwer, J. ., Murray, A. K., Lawrence, L. ., Tyne, M. ., & von der Wehl, C. . (2022). Global Diffusion of Montessori Schools: A Report From the 2022 Global Montessori Census. Journal of Montessori Research, 8(2), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.17161/jomr.v8i2.18675

Montessori education's impact on academic and nonacademic outcomes: A systematic review

The primary objective of this review was to examine the effectiveness of Montessori education in improving academic and nonacademic outcomes compared to traditional education. The secondary objectives were to determine the degree to which grade level, Montessori setting (public Montessori vs. private Montessori), random assignment, treatment duration, and length of follow-up measurements moderate the magnitude of Montessori effects.

Randolph, J. J., Bryson, A., Menon, L., Henderson, D. K., Kureethara Manuel, A., Michaels, S., rosenstein, d. l. w., McPherson, W., O'Grady, R., & Lillard, A. S. (2023). Montessori education's impact on academic and nonacademic outcomes: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 19, e1330. https://doi.org/10.1002/cl2.1330

An Intervention Study: Removing Supplemented Materials from Montessori Classrooms Associated with Better Child Outcomes

Montessori classrooms vary a good deal in implementation, and one way in which implementation differs is the provision of materials.  Specifically, some classrooms use only Montessori materials, whereas others supplement the Montessori materials with commercially available materials like puzzles and games.  A prior study suggested this might be a reason for observed differences across studies and classrooms (Author, 2012) but an intervention study is the best test.  The present study presents such an intervention with 52 children in 3 Montessori classrooms with Supplementary materials. All children were given 6 pretests, and non-Montessori materials were removed from 2 of the classrooms.  Four months later, children were retested to see how much they changed across that period.  Children in the classrooms from which the non-Montessori materials were removed advanced significantly more in early reading and executive function, and to some degree advanced more in early math.  There were no differences across the classroom types in amount of change on the tests of vocabulary, social knowledge, or social skills.

Lillard, A. S., & Heise, M. J. (2016). An Intervention Study: Removing Supplemented Materials from Montessori Classrooms Associated with Better Child Outcomes. Journal of Montessori Research, 2(1), 16–26. https://doi.org/10.17161/jomr.v2i1.5678

Montessori preschool elevates and equalizes child outcomes - Angeline S. Lillard, Megan J. Heise, Eve M. Richey, Xin Tong, Alyssa Hart and Paige M. Bray (Frontiers in Psychology, 2017)

A longitudinal study that took advantage of randomized lottery-based admission to two public Montessori magnet schools in a high-poverty American city. The final sample included 141 children, 70 in Montessori and 71 in other schools, most of whom were tested 4 times over 3 years, from the first semester to the end of preschool (ages 3 to 6), on a variety of cognitive and socio-emotional measures.

Montessori preschool elevated children’s outcomes in several ways. Although not different at the first test point, over time the Montessori children fared better on measures of academic achievement, social understanding, and mastery orientation, and they also reported relatively more liking of scholastic tasks. They also scored higher on executive function when they were 4.

In addition to elevating overall performance on these measures, Montessori preschool also equalised outcomes among subgroups that typically have unequal outcomes. First, the difference in academic achievement between lower income Montessori and higher income conventionally schooled children was smaller at each time point, and was not (statistically speaking) significantly different at the end of the study. Second, defying the typical finding that executive function predicts academic achievement, in Montessori classrooms children with lower executive function scored as well on academic achievement as those with higher executive function. 

Lillard, A. & Else-Quest, N. (2006) – Evaluating Montessori Education (Science 313)

This study compared outcomes of 59 children at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin public inner city Montessori school with 53 children who attended traditional schools in the same area. The results indicated that Montessori education leads to children with better social and academic skills. It was published by Angeline Lillard and Nicole Else-Quest in the Sept. 29 2006 issues of the journal Science.

The following summary was reported in The Times (London) September 29, 2006 and is an extract from an article by Alexandra Frean.

  • Pupils who learn at their own pace in Montessori schools may have an advantage over those in traditional classrooms
  • By the age of five, children at Montessori schools are better at basic word recognition and mathematics and are more likely to play co-operatively with other children. By the age of 12, they are more creative and better able to resolve social problems
  • Academically, they end up in the same place or better as non-Montessori children, but they are much better at getting on in a community.
  • Among the five year olds, Montessori students not only performed significantly better in maths and English, but were also better able to see the world through others’ eyes and performed better on “executive function”, which is the ability to adapt to change and approaching complex problems.
  • By the age of twelve, the difference in academic scores between the two groups was less pronounced. The Montessori children, however, wrote more creative essays, selected more positive responses to social dilemmas and reported a more positive sense of community at their school.
    Science Vol 3131 29 September 2006

Chisnall, N. & Maher, M. (2007) – Montessori Mathematics in Early Childhood Education

The research project examined mathematical concept development in children prior to school entry and indicated Montessori may have a positive impact on children’s numeracy knowledge. The key outcomes were:

  • Montessori students showed significantly higher achievement regarding backward number word sequence (a precursor to subtraction); early addition and subtraction; and place value concepts.
  • Indicators that the Montessori system may be offering more opportunities for children to develop higher order skills and concepts in early childhood.
  • Indicators that Montessori can favourably impact students in low socioeconomic status areas.
    Source: Curriculum Matters 3, 6-28.

Harris, E. M. (2004) – Evaluation of the reorganization of Northboro Elementary School in Palm Beach County, Florida: a ten year perspective

This was an 11 year case study of one school and the impact that Montessori brought. It examined an at risk elementary school from 1991 to 2002. The school population was 86% African American, 12% Hispanic, and 2% White or mixed race. (98% on lunch program). The community decided on the Montessori magnet program and utilised reading recovery and a parent involvement program. The key outcomes were:

  • Math scores went from a 28% to a 52% pass rate
  • Parent involvement tripled.
  • School community became more diverse. 
  • 91% of all six year olds were reading at or above grade level. 
    Source: Dissertation, Union Institute and University.

Dohrmann, K. (2003) – Outcomes for Students in a Montessori Program, A Longitudinal Study of the Experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools Montessori

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. The key outcomes were:

  • An association between a Montessori education and superior performance on the Math and Science scales of the ACT and WKCE, for those attending from the approximate ages of three to eleven.

Vance, T. L. (2003) – An exploration of the relationship between preschool experience and the acquisition of phonological awareness in kindergarten Comparison of four ECE experiences

This study involved a comparison of four early childhood education programmes. Students attending the Montessori program outscored all others on all tests administered on development of literacy skills and phonological awareness. 
Source: Dissertation, George Mason University.

Rathunde, K. (2003) – 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). The key outcomes were:
Montessori students reported a significantly better quality of experience in their academic work than did traditional students.
Montessori students perceived their schools as a more positive community for learning, with more opportunities for active, rather than passive, learning.
Source: The NAMTA Journal 283 (Summer, 2003), pages 12-52

Reed, M. (2000) – A comparison of the place value understanding of Montessori and non-Montessori elementary school students Maths study

Montessori students consistently outperformed non-Montessori students on “tasks of a more conceptual nature, while performing the same or slightly better on counting and symbolic tasks”. 

Source: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

East Dallas Community School

East Dallas Community School offers accredited classroom programs for children ages twelve months through third grade in one of the most under-served communities in Dallas. 68% of students are Hispanic, 9% African American, 19% Anglo, and 4% other ethnicities.  67% of these families were living at or below poverty level and 49% were learning English as a second language. Programme outcomes are as listed:

  • In 2002, 78% of the school’s third graders applied to Dallas Independent School District’s gifted and talented program. All were accepted.
    100% of the public charter school students have passed the high stakes state reading competency tests.
  • According to a ten year study of standardised test scores (1993-2003), EDCS students' average scores were in the top 36% nationwide in reading and math.
  • In a neighbourhood where the high school graduation rate is less than 50%, 94% of the third grade alumni have graduated from high school; 88% of those have gone on to college.
  •  In 2005, the school was ranked among the top 6% of charter school districts, and among the top 15% of all public school districts in the State of Texas.
  • In 2006 and 2007 the school received a Gold Performance acknowledgement from the state for our students' accomplishments in reading.
    Source: http://www.edcschool.org/Our_Schools.html.

Alfred G. Zanetti School Springfield, Massachusetts Montessori

Until 1999, the school had low-test scores, high absenteeism and a student turnover rate of almost 50% a year. In 1999, the school converted to Montessori. Programme outcomes include:

  • Assessments all the way down to the youngest classrooms, exhibit a record of success.
  • Student turnover rate is now (2005) 5%. 
    Source: Public School Stakes Its Future on the Montessori Way, New York Times, 2nd February 2005.

Review of the Literature

Over several years the American Montessori Society, in its publication Montessori Life, has published a series of articles on Montessori Education and Practice: A Review of Literature.  These editions can be accessed here: