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Montessori Schools kids do better in Reading and Math

A recent study reveals that kids attending Montessori schools have an advantage over other kids when it comes to academic and social development. However, an early education researcher finds the study to be too small to be conclusive.//

In this study, thirty 5-year old kids and twenty nine 12-year old kids attending a public inner-city Montessori school in Milwaukee, Wis. were included. Equal numbers of their counterparts attending non-Montessori Milwaukee schools were also included in the research.

Superior reading and math skills were found in the 5-year-old Montessori children than their counterparts in traditional schools. The Montessori kids scored higher in tests assessing social development.

In the case of the 12-year olds, similar performance was found in Montessori and non-Montessori students, however, the Montessori kids scored higher in the tests for social and behavioral development, revealed the researcher Angeline Lillard, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. She brought out the book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius last year.

The current study appears in the Sept. 29 issue of the journal Science. Approximately 300 public schools in America follow the teaching principles developed about 100 years back by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. There is no testing or grading in this system. Montessori is mainly used in preschool and early education. However, there are also Montessori middle schools and high schools.

”Concerns about the program tend to focus on the lack of testing and grading of school-aged children,” Lillard says. “Parents worry that their children won’t be able to compete if they aren’t exposed early to competitiveness in school,” she says.

Lillard and co-researcher Nichole Else-Quest, Ph.D., carried out the study to focus on this matter. “The thinking is that parents
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