What Does Research Indicate About Academic Achievement And Emotional Wellbeing Of Montessori Students?

What Does Research Indicate About Academic Achievement And Emotional Wellbeing Of Montessori Students?

Several pedagogical models of early childhood education are practiced in schools within the United States. Providing meaningful and hands-on learning experiences for all students has been a concern long before standardized assessments became the norm. Scholars have extensively researched on effective ways in which children learn, acquire, analyze, and process information.
The constructivist approach to early childhood education is one such philosophical approach, which includes pedagogical models such as Montessori, Waldorf (aka Steiner), and Reggio Emilia. These models emphasize and assess social and emotional skills through observation, as opposed to quantitative standardized tests. As indicated, the Montessori Method is one such example of a constructivist education model, and it has strong research-based evidence to support its effectiveness in academic achievement and overall well-being of children (Dhiksha & Suresh, 2016; Lillard, 2005, 2017; Lillard et al, 2021; Mallett & Schroeder, 2015; Marshall, 2017).

How does the Montessori Method help in the Academic Achievement and Well-being of Children?

More than 100 years of extensive research have demonstrated that the Montessori Method affords children better academic achievement and adult well-being as compared to other traditional or conventional models of education.
Through observation of children over her lifetime, Dr. Maria Montessori developed an understanding of child development and learning processes within children. Through these observations, she prepared an environment with development-based activities for children that promote independent learning. Such an environment not only stimulates the child’s natural development but also develops their problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities. One of the strengths of Montessori education is the child-centered approach in the classrooms. This allows children to learn by doing and become independent learners. This kind of methodology encourages children to master skills and achieve success.
A multitude of educational ideas is used by the Montessori Method, which also offers the foundation to put these ideas into practice. Numerous children have grown into successful, well-adjusted adults through a Montessori education.

Montessori Educational Opportunities and Outcomes

Standardized school assessments seek to quantitatively measure children’s academic achievement. The effectiveness and accuracy of these measures have been contentious and controversial since their inception. Conventional early childhood education programs are generally teacher-directed classrooms, where teachers are “on stage” presenting concepts and information for students to consume and acquire. The exams raised concerns about how to teach students who did not excel in them. However, there are still other methods of setting up the classroom that will allow all students to learn intuitively.
The Montessori method is one of those methods, where the curriculum delivers a quality program that involves the overall development of the child, be it social, emotionalcognitive, or kinaesthetic, and embraces the potential for significantly improving the academic outcomes.
Montessori Educational Opportunities and Outcomes
The first longitudinal study of Montessori education outcomes led by Dr. Angeline Lillard et al., 2017 found that children in Montessori preschools demonstrate better academic performance and social understanding than children participating in a conventional method of education. Another study, conducted by Jane C. Manner (1999), mentions the Stanford Achievement Test whose findings indicates that Montessori students continued to produce higher mean scores in reading and mathematics than did the traditional education students.

Why Montessori Children’s Results are Better When Compared to Conventional Education Methods?

“Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools.” as stated in research by Dr. Angeline Lillard

The Montessori Method has taken a leap to prepare the blending of visual and auditory representations, which is crucial for successful reading. Significant progress has also been made in illuminating the brain mechanisms behind early reading and reading challenges.
To overcome these reading challenges, the Montessori Method of education introduces phonics. It is one of the well-researched and best foundational techniques of language development. Through phonics, it becomes easier for a child to understand and decipher the alphabet-sound code.
The use of phonics helps the children to read with the correct pronunciation of the letters, digraphs, blends, and phonemes. An article by Chloë Marshall states, “in the Montessori method, the letter-sound relationships are taught in an organized sequence, rather than being taught on an ad hoc as-and-when-needed basis (2017). The article also states thatthe core of the Montessori curriculum is clear instruction of phonics within a rich language context, both spoken and written. The children are taught the sound-letter code before using it to encode words (in spelling) and decode them (in reading).
In addition to phonics and language acquisition, mathematics is also a strength of Montessori education. Montessori materials help children to understand math concepts in a more tangible manner. Developmental progression is used to ensure that math instructions are built on the learning capabilities of each individual child.
For instance, to introduce complex topics like combining and sorting of shapes, the child is first acquainted with Montessori sensorial materials like constructive triangles or geometric solids, or geometric cabinets. Activities with these resource materials help children recognize, name, and compare shapes effortlessly.
geometric solids
Similarly, to let the child comprehend mathematical concepts like addition and subtraction, materials like number rods, cards, counters, and spindle boxes are available in Montessori classrooms. Along with the sensorial materials, practical life activities like cutting fruits, folding clothes, and more such tasks are used in the Montessori classroom to introduce mathematical concepts like that of fractions.
The same thing is mentioned in research by Chloë Marshall. Marshall (2017) indicates that the use of practical life materials in Montessori classrooms to support the development of fine motor skills is a dynamic approach. The Montessori approach to reading using phonics, embedded in a rich language context, and giving math instruction a sensorial foundation are effective approaches to make a child enjoy learning which is not often present in conventional classrooms.

Mention of Academic Achievements of Montessori Children in a Research

The longitudinal study by Dr. Angeline S. Lillard and colleagues (Lillard et al., 2017) also states that an educational method that focuses on the overall development of the child rather than grades produces responsible, creative, and mature adults.
Across a range of abilities, children at Montessori schools outperformed the children in traditional education. Some of the differences that the team noticed through their research included:

  • The children of Montessori schooling were significantly more creative and sophisticated.
  • There was a  significant difference with regard to the social and emotional behavior of the children of the same age groups.
  • Children who attended Montessori schools demonstrated a sense of being reasonable, honest, and justified during interactions. They had a more emotionally positive approach.
  • Montessori-educated children performed better in reading, spelling, grammar, and punctuation when compared to those who participated in conventional education.

Montessori education keeps children at the center of learning (student-centered learning). These unique points help Montessori students to perform well and demonstrate a mastery of various subject matters. To learn about Montessori education and how it differs from conventional education, please read our blog on this topic.

How does Montessori Education helps in the Socio-Emotional Wellbeing Of children?

We have so far explained the academic achievement of Montessori children and how it benefits the child’s development. It is interesting to know that the Montessori Method of education not only focuses on academics, but also on the social and emotional well-being of children.
The Montessori education model allows children to learn at their own pace. It focuses on educating the child as a whole. This gives children the freedom to gradually develop and master new skills and strengths, which in turn promotes personal independence, self-discipline, and better emotional stability. It also fosters interactions between the child with peers and the environment along with the development of democratic attitudes and values among people.
The children in the Montessori model perceived the positive impact of collaboration and group work, and this is found to be positively associated with heightened levels of self-efficacy and better emotional development as stated in a research by Dhiksha. J and Suresh A.  The Montessori method of learning is based on experimental and exploring concepts. Self-correction and self-assessment are integral parts of the daily routine in Montessori classrooms. Hence, the students are open to criticism and corrections as they learn through errors. This teaches the children a lifelong practical lesson.
The research reveals that children who have high self-esteem, better social-emotional stability, and the capacity to interact well among people, are found to be more likable and attractive. They make better impressions on others.
In the Montessori Method, each child is considered unique and is given enough space to unleash the total potential of the child. It encourages independent learning, active exploration, and choice-making to enhance a child’s intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development.

Final Words

The Montessori Method of education is a pedagogical model that has been researched extensively and meticulously for more than a century. The above-mentioned evidence from rigorous studies regarding Montessori education is almost exclusively positive regarding the academic achievement of children. These studies have logically compared Montessori to other models of education.
These studies have also mentioned about the benefits of uninterrupted work periods in Montessori education that enhance the focus, attentiveness, discipline, and social and emotional skills in the children. Together, it provides better academic achievements and the well-being of children.


  • Dhiksha, J., & Suresh, A. (2016). Self-esteem and academic anxiety of high school students with Montessori and traditional methods of education. Indian Journal of Health and Wellbeing, 7(5), 543–545.
  • Lillard, A. S. (2005). Montessori: The science behind the genius (1st ed.). Oxford University Press.
  • Lillard, A. S. (2017). Montessori: The science behind the genius (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
  • Lillard, A. S., Heise, M. J., Richey, E. M., Tong, X., Hart, A., & Bray, P. M. (2017). Montessori preschool elevates and equalizes child outcomes: A longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, Article 1783. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01783
  • Lillard, A. S., Meyer, M. J., Vasc, D., & Fukuda, E. (2021). An association between Montessori education in childhood and adult wellbeing. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Article 721943. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.721943
  • Mallett, J. D., & Schroeder, J. L. (2015). Academic achievement outcomes: A comparison of Montessori and non-Montessori public elementary school students. Journal of Elementary Education, 25(1), 39-53. http://pu.edu.pk/images/journal/JEE/PDF-Files/3_v25_no1_15.pdf
  • Manner, J. C. (1999). A Comparison of Academic Achievement of Montessori and Non-Montessori Students in a Public School Setting [Doctoral Dissertation (Ed.D.), Florida International University]. https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9946898/
  • Marshall, C. (2017). Montessori education: a review of the evidence base. NPJ Science of Learning, 2(1), Article 11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-017-0012-7
  • Salazar, M. M. (2013). The impact of Montessori teaching on academic achievement of elementary school students in a central Texas school district: A causal-comparative inquiry [Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University]. http://hdl.handle.net/1969.6/515

How to Apply Montessori Principles While Setting Up Home Library for Children?

How to Apply Montessori Principles While Setting Up Home Library for Children?

Reading is an essential skill in everyone’s life. Not a single day or hour goes by when we are not reading something. It is also a factor that leads to the development of a country. For children, reading a book is actually a wealth of knowledge as they learn and explore the world around them. It is for this reason that books are such a prized resource in Montessori classrooms. Children need more exposure to books, even at home.

Many studies show that children with reading habits are more likely to develop lifelong literacy skills. One such study indicates that “reading books to very young children indeed contributes meaningfully to a favorable home literacy environment and supports children’s language development” (Nikal et al, 2016). Another research discusses that children’s engagement in recreational reading beyond independent skill acquisition is beneficial for continued literacy development (Merga and Mat Roni, 2018).

Children’s exposure to books is therefore an essential part of long-term cognitive development. Children also have greater reading rates, math skills, and higher intelligence. Just as we prepare our home for activities such as dressing, cooking, and sleeping, it is important for us to prepare the home environment for reading. Here are some recommendations for creating an enticing reading environment at home.

How to Set up a Reading Environment for Children in a Montessori Style?

The setup of a Montessori-inspired at-home library is neither difficult nor needs a large space, nor does it require major investment. Make sure your child’s home library follows the principles of a Prepared Environment.

Setting up a reading space helps children to sit down and concentrate on reading the book of their choice. Follow the 5 steps to set up an enticing reading environment at home:

    1. Child-accessible shelves: Similar to the Montessori environment, reading area shelves need to be easily accessible to the child. There are many variations of the bookshelves present in the market, but setting up a forward-facing bookshelf is the best as it allows children to choose the books to read and put them away back independently. Tip: The shelf doesn’t need to be expensive or large. It can be wooden shelves or wooden crates or wicker baskets. The idea is to make the books accessible to the child.Child-accessible shelves
    2. Choosing the right books: Purchasing books should not be expensive too. Around 8-10 age-appropriate books are enough to keep on a bookshelf. For toddlers, books with a lot of illustrations and less text are good. For primary children, stories, grace, and courtesy books, books with counting and patterns, and more can be kept. As the child grows, you can provide more advanced books to help them with their exploration. Tip: You can start by adding books that interest children. Or Add books related to holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. This way, it is easy to catch the interest of children and build a lifelong love for reading.Choosing the right books
    3. Cozy seating area: Not only books and bookshelves, but the reading area should be cozy and inviting. Therefore, the next step is to make an enticing reading space by adding comfortable seating. Again, this need not be expensive; you can simply place a rug near the bookshelf or can create a reading corner with a comfortable chair or couch. The idea behind the dedicated reading area as it reduces the surrounding disturbance. It also helps children build interest and concentrate on what they are reading. Tip: If you have a smaller space, you can set up the bookshelf closer to the living room sofa. This helps in providing children with a comfortable space to read.
    4. Visual appeal: The child’s reading space should be visually appealing. Like Montessori classrooms, the environment should be calm, with neutral-colored walls. You can add a lamp, plants, motivational quotes, and pictures. These little details create a serene atmosphere that builds a child’s interest and attention. Tip: You can also set up the Montessori-inspired library next to the activity shelf, just in case the child wants to research the topic or problem.
    5. Calm environment and neutral colors: Montessori classrooms are based on the idea that the environment should not overwhelm children and create fewer distractions. Therefore, a children’s at-home library should be set up somewhere away from daily commotion. Avoid brightly colored walls, charts and paintings, and other distractions, so that children can concentrate and instill the habit of reading. Tip: To set up a Montessori-inspired room at home, read our blog here.

Bottom Line

Montessori education is based on the idea that children should be free to explore and learn at their own pace. This means they are given the freedom to choose when, where, and how they learn. And a Montessori-inspired library at home is a great way to introduce children to the joy of reading. It is a new world for children to read, explore and learn. So let’s create a place at home where your child can focus on their interests and learn to be creative.


What is Included in the Montessori Curriculum?

Montessori Curriculum

As parents, we are always worried when choosing an education system for our children. But, have you ever heard of an education system that emphasizes the learning process instead of age? Or even if you have been, do you know what a Montessori curriculum looks like?

Well, the Montessori method of education is renowned for its learning process. It focuses on the rate and speed at which a child can acquire a skill before moving on to another skill.

Montessori is a learner-centered education and focuses on the individual and their developmental needs. In general, Montessori education is based on three principles:

  1. The development of independence, self-control, and self-discovery.
  2. Respect for the child’s culture, environment, language, and values.
  3. The natural unfolding of a child’s interest in a prepared environment.

According to the Montessori method of education, children learn best when they are allowed to explore, experiment, and take risks on their own and with their peers. As a result, the Montessori classroom, or environment, is carefully prepared in a way that responds to a child’s need to learn and grow. It is done by exposing them to materials and experiences that stimulate intelligence and promote physical and psychological development. Let us take a closer look at the Montessori curriculum.

Key Terms Of Montessori Curriculum

A Montessori curriculum is a sequence of materials, activities, and experiences that ‌provide children the opportunity to develop their natural love for learning. It is unique and progressive as the focus is on concrete and experiential learning.

“In addition to the use of each material being highly structured, the overarching Montessori curriculum is also tightly structured. Materials within a curriculum area are presented in a hierarchical sequence, and there is a complex web of interrelationships with materials in different areas of the curriculum. As far as I know, no other single educational curriculum comes close to the Montessori curriculum in terms of its levels of depth, breadth, and interrelationship across time and topic.” – Dr. Angeline S. Lillard. in An Answer to the Crisis in Education.

The Montessori Curriculum Includes

  •       classroom organization
  •       child-arranged work (learning by doing)
  •       individual work (learning by self)
  •       group work and discussion
  •       practical life activities
  •       sensory exploration and movement
  •       classic art and literature

Montessori methods of education encourage children to explore the world in a structured learning environment that fosters their need to learn and grow by exposing them to materials and experiences that stimulate intelligence and promote physical and psychological development.

Montessori educators introduce concepts – like readingwritinggeometry, and mathematics – using learning materials, allowing children to learn at their own pace. Lessons are brief, concise, and direct, with the goal of increasing the child’s independence and love for learning.

Multi-age Classrooms

Montessori schools have multi-age group classrooms arranged in the following manner:

  • Infant: 0-18 months
  • Toddler:1-3 years
  • Early Childhood: 3-6 years
  • Lower Elementary: 6-9 years
  • Upper Elementary: 9-12 years
  • Secondary: 12-18 years of age

Montessori Curriculum and Learning Environment

The American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) are two organizations that provide guidance for structuring the Montessori curriculum and schools, keeping all the areas of a child’s development in mind.

Here is a glimpse of how the curriculum is structured in the Montessori classrooms:

Montessori Curriculum for Toddler Level Children (0-3 years or Pre-Nursery)

Montessori curriculum for toddlers is based on 6 integrated areas of development, i.e. sensory & perceptual, physical, cognitive, gross motor & fine motor skills, self-care & personal development skills, and social & emotional skills.

Keeping the areas of development in mind, the toddler classroom must include a progressive environment that promotes freedom of movement, integrates daily routines, and provides experiences that foster a child’s growth and independence. Thus, engaging children in daily activities based on their needs, capabilities, and interests.

Montessori Curriculum for Primary Level Children (3-6 years or Kindergarten)

The Early Childhood curriculum integrates the core areas of Practical Life, Sensorial activities, Math, Spoken Language, Reading and writing, Peace and Cosmic Education, and Cultural Subjects.

The learning environment is child-centered, which promotes self-efficacy, independence, refinement of their movements, sensory perceptions, language, and cognitive development. Many opportunities are provided for children to pursue their own interests, choose their own activities, develop their concentration abilities, and engage at their own pace in their developing abilities in reason, imagination, and sociability.

montessori curriculum

Montessori Curriculum for Elementary Level Children (6-12 years)

At the age of 6-12 years, children enter a new period of development that is

  • Transitioned from concrete to abstract thinking,
  • More Social
  • More creative thinking and problem solver
  • Have an interest in fairness, social justice, and compassion

The Elementary curriculum builds an in-depth study of the world and how it works. It is interdisciplinary and integrates the core subjects of Mathematics (including geometry and algebra), biological and physical science, technology, language arts & literature, history, geography, geology, anthropology, physical and political world, civics, economics, art, music & other forms of artistic expression, additional/world Language, cosmic education and physical education.

This curriculum helps children to foster a feeling of connectedness to humanity and encourages children’s natural desire to contribute to the world. It also allows them to explore their interests and acquire mastery of basic skills and knowledge.

Elementary classrooms are child-centered and provide a learning environment that promotes organizational and time-management skills, conflict resolution skills, concentration, independence, cooperation, and collaboration.

Montessori Curriculum for Secondary Level Children (12-18 years)

Children in the age group of 12-18 years are at the threshold of reaching adulthood. As a result, the environment should reflect the full spectrum of adult life and provide opportunities for not only pursuing academic interests but also participating in actual adult practical work in an environment closer to real society. Thus, the secondary-level curriculum in Montessori focuses on 4 developmental stages: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive.

Besides the core curriculum areas of math, language arts, social studies, and science, the Secondary Curriculum (sometimes called Erdkinder) includes world languages, creative arts, health and fitness, fieldwork (like apprenticeships), community service, and career exploration.

The curriculum prepares children for post-secondary education or careers through self-construction, extensive self-reflection, and opportunities for leadership and personal responsibility.

Children in secondary classrooms are involved in complex projects that include research and presentations to demonstrate mastery of concepts. It promotes time management, organization, independent decision-making, problem-solving, community building, and the application of learning.

How Does the Montessori Curriculum Differ from the Conventional School Curriculum?


Montessori classroom is always focused on independence. While the curriculum provides a classroom with structure. Its prime focus is on children (individuals) and should be given the freedom to choose their own activities and focus on learning in their own way. This approach not only promotes independence in children but also instills a mature outlook on life and accomplishing problems.

Children are allowed to move at their own pace and move on from one skill if they are ready (regardless of age). That’s why classrooms with mixed- age are promoted. Teachers (or guides) will observe and help and direct where needed, and will not interfere with a child’s learning process.

Unlike conventional education, the Montessori curriculum does not encourage the memorization of information/lessons. The Montessori curriculum emphasizes early childhood development rather than focusing on the same things or learning them in the same way.

Montessori teacher is using Montessori curriculum to the child


The Montessori curriculum is a child-centered, hands-on approach to learning. It is based on the principle that children are naturally curious and eager to learn. The curriculum offers opportunities for children to focus on developing independence, correcting their errors, and respect for others & the environment. It also fosters creativity in children by giving them opportunities to explore and experiment with materials in a supportive environment.

Whereas, conventional school curriculum focuses on teaching academic subjects through lectures, textbooks, worksheets, homework assignments, etc. It may lead to boredom among students who do not enjoy those subjects or who don’t learn well from those methods of instruction. It is more teacher-directed and focuses on developing pre-reading, pre-writing, mathematical, and language arts skills.


In a Montessori school, subjects are divided into 5 core subjects: languagepractical lifemathematicsculture, and sensorial. Each area of study includes educational materials that increase in complexity as they achieve one skill. Children progress through the Montessori Curriculum at their own pace, based on their stage of development and interests. Lessons are short, concise, direct, and aimed at enhancing the child’s self-worth.

In conventional schools, subjects are literature, science, social studies, arts, mathematics, and language. Each has 10-12 pre-defined lessons which change every year. All the children learn at the same pace and speed.


In a Montessori school, educators assess children using formative observations that complement a carefully prepared classroom environment. This observation happens during a session or when a child is engaged in an activity. They check if a child is on the right path for their overall development.

Whereas in conventional preschool, the assessment is based on tests and exams where children are provided with a questionnaire to answer, then grades are provided based on the answers they have written and the teacher’s knowledge.

How do Montessori Education Benefit Children?

For parents who are not sure which type of education is best for their children, this section helps them to decide. It will also help them understand how the Montessori curriculum will benefit their child’s development needs. Children absorb everything until the age of 6 years because it is a time of exploration. This is where the Montessori curriculum stands out.

5 Benefits of the Montessori Curriculum

  1. The curriculum is designed to foster self-confidence and independence in children by giving them the freedom to explore their environment and learn through experimentation without the fear of failure. Thus, making it essential for developing minds.
  2. It assists children in developing critical thinking abilities, problem-solving skills, and creative thinking.
  3. It is designed for each child’s development needs so that they are never overwhelmed with too much information at once.
  4. It is tailored to meet the needs of all learners, including those with special needs or developmental delays; it also includes a strong emphasis on early childhood development.
  5. It promotes the development of a child’s five senses in order to improve their ability to learn and develop social skills.

Final Words

The Montessori curriculum is not a set of fixed lessons or a series of workbooks but is based on the child’s development needs and interests. This means that the lessons are ‌flexible and ever-changing to meet the needs of the child. Thus, making it must consider when choosing the educational system for your child.

To know more about Montessori video lessons and worksheets, click here.