Montessori Education and Practice: A Review of the Literature, 2007-2009

By Bagby, Janet H.; Jones, Natalie A. | Montessori Life, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Montessori Education and Practice: A Review of the Literature, 2007-2009


Bagby, Janet H., Jones, Natalie A., Montessori Life


This literature review, a continuation of the first one published in Montessori Life (Bagby, 2007), identifies articles published in non-Montessori professional periodicals that included information about Maria Montessori and/or the Montessori method of education. While conducting the current search, we discovered 12 articles published prior to 2007 that were not annotated in the original review. Those articles are included in this review, along with the ones published within the last 3 years.

Since 2006, there have been an additional 25 articles published that meet criteria stated above; this suggests an increase in Montessori-related research in the United States and the international community. As with the original review, nearly half of these articles were published in educational periodicals. The remaining articles appeared in publications representing various disciplines (i.e., medicine, religion, and gerontology).

Besançon, M. & Lubart, T. (2007). Differences in the development of creative competencies in children schooled in diverse learning environments. Learning and Individual Differences, 18, 391-399.

This two-year study examined creativity development in first through fifth graders in four Parisian schools. Two sites used traditional pedagogy and two used alternative pedagogies, specifically Freinet and Montessori. Overall, students who attended a Montessori or Freinet setting performed higher on creativity tests, and Montessori school students achieved higher levels of creativity over the 2year study period than students in the other three schools.

Blank, J. (2009). Situated in school scripts: Contextual early childhood teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 251-258.

This qualitative case study of two elementary teachers in a public Montessori magnet school focused on the use of scripts, which are defined as "situated ways of speaking" about a teaching practice. The teachers describe their experiences with various scripts, including the Montessori methodology, the passing of No Child Left Behind, and public school traditions.

Bone, J., Cull en, J., & Loveridge, J. (2007). Everyday spirituality: An aspect of the holistic curriculum in action. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 8(4), 344-354.

An early childhood Montessori casa in New Zealand was the setting for this qualitative study exploring everyday spirituality, which "recognizes the extraordinary in the ordinary." The authors capture the key narratives and actions of the preschoolers on the first day back from a two-week break, illustrating the spiritual elements in the Montessori environment.

Capps, D. (2008). Mother, melancholia, and humor in Erik H. Erikson's earliest writings. Journal of Religion and Health, 47, 415-432.

Through analysis of Erikson's work, Capps explains the origins of melancholia and describes humor as an antidote to melancholia. While undergoing psychoanalysis with Anna Freud, pubKshing early articles, and teaching school, Erikson also studied the Montessori method.

Cossentino, J. (2005). Ritualizing expertise: A non-Montessorian view of the Montessori method. American Journal of Education, 111(2), 211-244.

Through classroom observations, Cossentino explored the "rituals" of a Montessori classroom. She explains the traditional techniques (rituals) used in Montessori pedagogy and describes how these techniques reflect broader Montessori principles, such as independence. Cossentino emphasizes the importance of rituals as related to educational experiences.

Dohrmann, K., Nishida, T., Gartner, A., Lipsky, D., & Grimm, K. (2007). High school outcomes for students in a public Montessori program. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 22(2), 205-217.

In this quantitative study, researchers compared the achievement of two groups of Milwaukee high school students - one group having attended a Montessori school from pre-K through fifth grade, and a matched peer group that attended non-Montessori schools. …

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