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.
Does 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)
- Montessori: An Answer to the Crisis in Education (Chapter 1)
- Front Matter including Preface
- Montessori School Flyer
“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 Education
“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 achievement!”
— Virginia McHugh Goodwin
Executive Director, Association Montessori Internationale, USA
“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 child.”
— 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
Editor of The Public Montessorian