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Evaluation of Montessori Curriculum

Research on Montessori Curriculum

Dr. Maria Montessori developed the Montessori early childhood curriculum over 100 years ago based on her extensive observations of young children’s learning. Montessori environments are carefully prepared to meet each child’s needs and match their developmental level. Children largely direct their activities, choosing from concrete learning materials that engage multiple senses. Specially trained teachers offer individualized guidance, fostering independence and intrinsic motivation (Lillard, 2022). Core components of Montessori early childhood education include multi-age classrooms, long uninterrupted work periods, hands-on self-correcting materials, child-directed activity, and close teacher observation informing personalized instruction (AMI, 2023).

Research on Montessori outcomes is positive. One study found children in Montessori preschool classrooms scored higher on math and science achievement and social problem-solving versus children in other preschool types. Montessori kindergarteners outperformed non-Montessori peers in reading, math, vocabulary and executive function(Burbank et al.,2020). Benefits seem durable – prior Montessori preschool experience predicted better high school math and science scores. So, evidence indicates Montessori effectively promotes early learning.

Evaluation Using Frede & Ackerman Criteria

The Montessori Method has a clear child-centred theoretical foundation. As the authors state, such an approach “derives from the belief that children must direct their learning and will learn when they are ready if teachers are nurturing and provide stimulating materials and support for the children’s choices” (p. 4). Montessori views children as active exploratory learners, and teachers thoughtfully prepare environments to scaffold self-directed investigation. Montessori content integrates across developmental domains, promoting hands-on discovery. For example, Practical Life activities build fine motor and self-care skills while reinforcing peer socialization. Such interdisciplinary integration mirrors young children’s global learning processes (Ackerman, 2007). Regarding differentiated instruction, Montessori allows children to progress independently, guided by observational assessment. Multi-age classrooms prevent repetitive curricula as lessons target each student’s needs.

However, some cultural perspectives caution against Montessori’s individualistic emphasis conflicts with communal values. Diverse language exposure is feasible in adapting classroom materials, but more explicit culturally responsive practices deserve integration. Montessori certifications ensure initial teacher preparation and fidelity. Ongoing consulting supports implementation. However, requirements vary across programs, risking inconsistent quality. More standardization would strengthen Montessori system-wide. Montessori principles strongly resonate developmentally by centring child choice and hands-on problem-solving matching young children’s learning patterns (Ackerman, 2007). While needing cultural and disability support, core tenets facilitate personalized, integrated learning, helping diverse students meaningfully develop. Overall, though, Montessori principles strongly resonate developmentally. Centering child choice and hands-on problem-solving matches young children’s learning patterns. Evidence shows the approach cultivates motivated, skilled students across critical domains. While refinements would benefit, Montessori constitutes an appropriate, student-centred early childhood curriculum.


The Montessori curriculum strongly supports the learning needs of typically developing young children. Its hands-on materials and child-directed activities align with normal developmental patterns and promote achievement across domains. However, for children with disabilities, while accommodations are possible, Montessori’s heavy reliance on specialized equipment risks excluding those with certain physical or sensory limitations unless teachers build in greater modifications. The method is also better suited to individualistic versus collectivist cultures – its emphasis on independence may conflict with communal values prioritizing group harmony over child choice. So Montessori demonstrates general appropriateness for mainstream early childhood contexts but requires more explicit evolution in practices and teacher training to include special needs and diverse learners fully. Core tenets establish an engaging student-centred environment, but universal accessibility for all children regardless of ability, background or learning variance deserves greater integration into Montessori’s specialized system.


Ackerman, D. J. (2007). Real-world compromises: Policy and practice impacts of kindergarten entry assessment‐related validity and reliability challenges. ETS Research Report Series, 2018(1), 1-35.

Burbank, M. D., Goldsmith, M. M., Spikner, J., & Park, K. (2020). Montessori Education and a Neighborhood School: A Case Study of Two Early Childhood Education Classrooms. Journal of Montessori Research, 6(1), 1-18.

Lillard, A. S. (2022). Montessori as an alternative early childhood education. In The influence of theorists and pioneers on early childhood education (pp. 211-221). Routledge.


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