Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why is Montessori Education so Cool?

Well, there are lots of reasons I think it is great, but this post is about a study I read that was done in 1967 and was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  (I wonder if there are any newer studies out there with the same or different conclusions?)  Anyways, they were studying "the general problem of finding more effective ways of preparing pre-school age children for their initial formal learning experience in school"  I'll skip right to the conclusion, and if you're interested in reading more you can check it out.   Since I am not that great at statistics, I'll just quote the conclusion rather than summarizing it.

The investigators found that the superior gains (27 percent greater) in verbal ability made by Montessori trained children over the other-than-Montessori-trained children were statistically significant at the p. .001 level of confidence.
Of the eight factors which emerged from a factor analysis of the variable rated in this study, only three: positive learning attitude, sensory motor coordination and verbal ability met statistical criteria for retention and further discriminant analysis.  The authors found positive correlations between positive learning attitude and verbal ability as well as with sensori motor coordination, but with the latter factor, only in the Montessori group, where many of the sensori-motor learning activity involve manipulative mathematics devices designed to develop the child's concept of number.  The investigators suspect the influence of general intelligence accounts for the positive correlations among these factors.  Group variance (higher for the Montessori than for the Control children) was significant at p. .05 when correlations of positive learning attitude were compared with sensori-motor coordination.
However, Montessori-Control group variances of the positive learning attitude factor and of the sensori-motor coordination factor were not significantly different.
Of the five to five-and-one-half year olds in this study, Montessori-trained children (67 percent and 94 percent) seem to have acquired greater "reading readiness" and "first grade readiness" than those in the Control group (30 percent and 50 percent).
Primary teachers in the public and parochial schools to which the children in this study transferred found no particular adjustment problems "peculiar to Montessori-trained children."  Then found no significant differences in creativity between children coming from Montessori and other pre-schools.  They rated children who had attended Montessori pre-school superior (at a statistically significant level) to their peers in interest in learning, independence, interpersonal relations, leadership and learning ability.
To fully understand what they were measuring and how, you'd have to read the study and look at the forms and other material they used.  I did not read the entire study, but it looks like it was well thought out.  Since I already thought Montessori Education is great, I didn't feel the need to be convinced all over again.  If you aren't convinced, this study may help :)

Here's all the info on the first page to help you find it:
Montessori Pre-School Education
Project 5-1061
Grant No. OE 3-10-127

Urban H Fleege, Ph.D
Michael S. Black, Ph.D
John A. Rachaushas, M.A.
June, 1967

No comments:

Post a Comment