Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Montessori Mafia?

In case you missed it, I wanted to pass on a link to this article which came out last week in the Wall Street Journal about Montessori education.

The article is entitled The Montessori Mafia; it discusses the results of a new study conducted by professors from Brigham Young University, which found that a disproportionate number of entrepreneurs who start new businesses or invent new products are Montessori alumni. The article also describes the role Montessori education played in contributing to the life long success and love of learning of many famous Montessori alumni (including Julia Child, Anne Frank, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Google founders Larry Page, and Sergei Brin) and the evidence from Milwaukee cohort studies which demonstrates that Montessori students often have better executive function, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, better reading and math skills, and are more prepared for elementary school than non-Montessori students. The Milwaukee study is one of the most conclusive studies of the Montessori educational method, because the children in the experiment were randomly assigned to Montessori and non-Montessori schools; as a result, socio-economic status, parenting philosophy, parent education, and other common variables were controlled.

Over the years, Montessori has enjoyed a number of famous teachers and advocates (Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Mister Rogers, Woodrow Wilson, Alice Waters, Erik Erikson, and Jean Piaget among others). Although most classroom guides like to think that the proof our of method comes in the calm, joyful expressions on the faces of children who are concentrating deeply and developing a life long love of learning right in front of us, it is certainly nice to get a little positive press and the support of an increasing body of scientific research as well!

To read the article, please click on this link:

The author of the WSJ article will be hosting a webinar to discuss the research and answer questions about Montessori education today at 3pm (click on the link which appears in the article to participate).

For more information about studies which document the benefits of Montessori education, please see:

-Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard (2005: Oxford University Press)

-Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler (2009: Sevenoff Press)

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