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Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study.
Front Psychol 2017; 8:1783FP

Abstract

Quality preschool programs that develop the whole child through age-appropriate socioemotional and cognitive skill-building hold promise for significantly improving child outcomes. However, preschool programs tend to either be teacher-led and didactic, or else to lack academic content. One preschool model that involves both child-directed, freely chosen activity and academic content is Montessori. Here we report a longitudinal study that took advantage of randomized lottery-based admission to two public Montessori magnet schools in a high-poverty American city. The final sample included 141 children, 70 in Montessori and 71 in other schools, most of whom were tested 4 times over 3 years, from the first semester to the end of preschool (ages 3-6), on a variety of cognitive and socio-emotional measures. Montessori preschool elevated children's outcomes in several ways. Although not different at the first test point, over time the Montessori children fared better on measures of academic achievement, social understanding, and mastery orientation, and they also reported relatively more liking of scholastic tasks. They also scored higher on executive function when they were 4. In addition to elevating overall performance on these measures, Montessori preschool also equalized outcomes among subgroups that typically have unequal outcomes. First, the difference in academic achievement between lower income Montessori and higher income conventionally schooled children was smaller at each time point, and was not (statistically speaking) significantly different at the end of the study. Second, defying the typical finding that executive function predicts academic achievement, in Montessori classrooms children with lower executive function scored as well on academic achievement as those with higher executive function. This suggests that Montessori preschool has potential to elevate and equalize important outcomes, and a larger study of public Montessori preschools is warranted.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.Department of Education, University of Hartford, Hartford, CT, United States.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29163248

Citation

Lillard, Angeline S., et al. "Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: a Longitudinal Study." Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, 2017, p. 1783.
Lillard AS, Heise MJ, Richey EM, et al. Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1783.
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, p. 1783. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01783.
Lillard AS, et al. Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: a Longitudinal Study. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1783. PubMed PMID: 29163248.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study. AU - Lillard,Angeline S, AU - Heise,Megan J, AU - Richey,Eve M, AU - Tong,Xin, AU - Hart,Alyssa, AU - Bray,Paige M, Y1 - 2017/10/30/ PY - 2017/07/13/received PY - 2017/09/25/accepted PY - 2017/11/23/entrez PY - 2017/11/23/pubmed PY - 2017/11/23/medline KW - Montessori KW - academic achievement KW - cognitive development KW - early childhood education KW - mastery orientation KW - preschool KW - social development KW - theory of mind SP - 1783 EP - 1783 JF - Frontiers in psychology JO - Front Psychol VL - 8 N2 - Quality preschool programs that develop the whole child through age-appropriate socioemotional and cognitive skill-building hold promise for significantly improving child outcomes. However, preschool programs tend to either be teacher-led and didactic, or else to lack academic content. One preschool model that involves both child-directed, freely chosen activity and academic content is Montessori. Here we report a longitudinal study that took advantage of randomized lottery-based admission to two public Montessori magnet schools in a high-poverty American city. The final sample included 141 children, 70 in Montessori and 71 in other schools, most of whom were tested 4 times over 3 years, from the first semester to the end of preschool (ages 3-6), on a variety of cognitive and socio-emotional measures. Montessori preschool elevated children's outcomes in several ways. Although not different at the first test point, over time the Montessori children fared better on measures of academic achievement, social understanding, and mastery orientation, and they also reported relatively more liking of scholastic tasks. They also scored higher on executive function when they were 4. In addition to elevating overall performance on these measures, Montessori preschool also equalized outcomes among subgroups that typically have unequal outcomes. First, the difference in academic achievement between lower income Montessori and higher income conventionally schooled children was smaller at each time point, and was not (statistically speaking) significantly different at the end of the study. Second, defying the typical finding that executive function predicts academic achievement, in Montessori classrooms children with lower executive function scored as well on academic achievement as those with higher executive function. This suggests that Montessori preschool has potential to elevate and equalize important outcomes, and a larger study of public Montessori preschools is warranted. SN - 1664-1078 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29163248/Montessori_Preschool_Elevates_and_Equalizes_Child_Outcomes:_A_Longitudinal_Study_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01783 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -