Montessori: The Science behind the Genius
by Angeline S. Lillard, PhD
Oxford University Press, 2005 (404 pages)
Price: $24.95 (hard cover)
$17.95 (paperback --
#1 Best Seller in Education
Traditional American schooling is in constant
crisis because it is based on two poor models for children's
learning: the school as a factory and the child as a blank slate.
School reforms repeatedly fail by not penetrating these models. One
hundred years ago, Maria Montessori, the first female physician in
Italy, devised a very different method of educating children, based
on her observations of how they naturally learn.
Montessori education provide a viable alternative to traditional
schooling? Do Dr. Montessori's theories and practices stand up to
the scrutiny of modern-day developmental psychology? Can
developmental psychology tell us anything about how and why
Montessori methods work?
In Montessori, Angeline Lillard shows that science has finally caught up with Maria
Montessori: Current scientific research provides astounding support
for her major insights. Lillard presents the research concerning
eight insights that are foundational to Montessori education and
describes 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.
Montessori however, does much more than explain the
scientific basis for Montessori's system: amid the clamor for
evidence-based education, this book 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.
Everyone interested in education, at all levels and in all forms,
will take from this book a wealth of insights on how to improve
teaching effectiveness. Montessori
is indispensable reading for anyone interested in what psychologists
know about human learning and development.
Complimentary downloads from Montessori
(requires PDF reader)
"This is a great book. It is
beautifully written, and expertly uses the psychological research
literature to evaluate Montessori theory and practice. What an
original and important contribution."
— Carol Dweck
Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
"Inspired educational thinkers such as
Dewey or Vygotsky only sketched out ways that we might teach young
children. Over more than 50 years, Maria Montessori successfully
created a radically new teaching system - a system that endures and
inspires to this day. Angeline Lillard shows how many of
Montessori's practices anticipated some of the latest and best
findings in developmental psychology while still others call out for
future empirical analysis. Lillard's comprehensive and fascinating
assessment gives Montessori the place that she deserves in
contemporary debate about how we should best teach children."
— Paul L. Harris
Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of
"Lillard has masterfully explored the
basic tenets of Montessori education and how they are validated with
today's scientific findings. The result is a long-awaited and
important contribution that contrasts with traditional education and
offers evidence in support of a method that works. A stunning
— Virginia McHugh Goodwin
Executive Director, Association Montessori
"This is a really excellent book. The
author is unusually well qualified to write it. Angeline Lillard is
an internationally renowned researcher in the area of
cognitive-developmental psychology, who also has extensive
experience and deep knowledge regarding Montessori. The book is not
only authoritative and scholarly, it is also very well organized and
very clearly written, easily communicable to anyone with an interest
in the area. I enjoyed reading it."
— John Flavell
Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor, Emeritus
School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University
"If you want to understand Montessori
education in light of current developmental research, you should
seize upon this authoritative, interesting book. I highly recommend
it for parents, educators, students of education--anyone, in fact,
who would like a close-up look at the real needs of the developing
— Jane M. Healy, Ph.D.
Author of Your Child's Growing Mind: Brain Development
and Learning from Birth to Adolescence
"Angeline Lillard may have changed the
rules of engagement for debates on educational reform. "
— Dennis Schapiro