To learn more about Montessori education, check out these great resources:
Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood by Paula Polk Lillard
Lillard describes the Montessori approach and sketches its application from preschool through early adulthood in this short but thorough volume. After a brief discussion of the origin and implications of Montessori's theories about child development, the author surveys the primary years and the stories and lessons that are most appropriate to this stage of development; analyzes the elementary classroom and teacher from both theoretical and practical perspectives, complete with anecdotes from her own and other Montessori teachers' experiences; and moves into less familiar territory to describe the impact of Montessori's theories on education at the middle school, secondary school, and college levels. Montessori Today will be a useful tool for parents analyzing educational alternatives as well as for students who may be thinking about a career in education. (Booklist)
Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard
In this book, Angeline Stoll Lillard shows that science has finally caught up with Maria Montessori. Lillard presents the research behind eight insights that are foundations of Montessori education, describing how each of these insights is applied in the Montessori classroom. In reading this book, parents and teachers alike will develop a clear understanding of what happens in a Montessori classroom and, more important, why it happens and why it works. Lillard, however, does much more than explain the scientific basis for Montessori's system: Amid the clamor for evidence-based education, she presents the studies that show how children learn best, makes clear why many traditional practices come up short, and describes an ingenious alternative that works. Now with a foreword by Renilde Montessori, the youngest grandchild of Maria Montessori, Lillard offers a wealth of insights for anyone interested in education.
Download the first chapter.
The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori
This book is Montessori's own exposition of the theory behind her innovative educational techniques. She shows parents, teachers and administrators how to "free a child to learn through his own efforts."
The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind was Maria Montessori's most in-depth work on her educational theory, based on decades of scientific observation of children. Her view on children and their absorbent minds was a landmark departure from the educational model at the time. This book helped start a revolution in education. Since this book first appeared there have been both cognitive and neurological studies that have confirmed what Maria Montessori knew decades ago.
Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler
We know we need to improve our traditional school system, both public and private. But how? More homework? Better-qualified teachers? Longer school days or school years? More testing? More funding? No, no, no, no, and no. Montessori Madness! explains why the incremental steps politicians and administrators continue to propose are incremental steps in the wrong direction. The entire system must be turned on its head. This book asks parents to take a look at one thirty-minute observation at a Montessori school. Your picture of what education should look like will never be the same.
A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience, and Social Context by Kevin Rathunde
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). Montessori students reported a significantly better quality of experience in their academic work than did traditional students. In addition, Montessori students perceived their schools as a more positive community for learning, with more opportunities for active, rather than passive, learning.
This study was sponsored by the North American Montessori Teachers' Association (NAMTA, an affiliate organization of AMI) and published in The NAMTA Journal 28:3 (Summer, 2003), pages 12-52.
Download research report (PDF 152 KB)
Optimal Developmental Outcomes: The Social, Moral, Cognitive, and Emotional Dimensions of a Montessori Education by Annette M. Haines, Kay Baker, and David Kahn
This series of articles (including a new introduction by Annette Haines, NAMTA's Director of Research) spells out optimal outcomes of Montessori education for the early childhood, elementary, and adolescent years. Haines states, "we find the possibility of an educational continuum that extends naturally along a developmental path from birth to adulthood. It is hoped that the delineation of this path within the three distinct developmental stages will enable educators to look at students and schools from a new perspective."
Sources: The NAMTA Journal 25:2, Spring, 2000; The NAMTA Journal 26:1, Winter, 2001; The NAMTA Journal 28:1, Winter 2003.
Download research report (PDF 200 KB)