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A Montessori curriculum contains these elements as essential elements:

  • Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
  • A Constructivist or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
  • Freedom of movement within the classroom
  • A trained Montessori teacher

I have often seen the claim being made that the Montessori curriculum better prepares children for school and that the children tend to do better. Where I live, that perception definitely holds amongst the parents in the area.

At the same time, Montessori daycares are more expensive and are therefore attended by children of more wealthy and involved parents.

Are there any good, verifiable sources that avoid selection biases and can either verify or dispute that claim?

  • @Sancho I would hope that there are, considering that educational research is a real bona-fide field. However, my question does leave open the door for a "No, there are no good sources" kind of an answer provided that it's supported by something. – MrFox Aug 21 '13 at 16:02
  • are you using the term "daycare" to distinguish from pre-K and elementary Montessori? – Abe Aug 21 '13 at 20:04
  • @Abe "Daycare" and "pre-K" are usually the same thing. And, not "elementary" because part of the questioned claim is, "prepares children for school" (therefore it's pre-school). – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 21:47
  • Isn't preschool always optional, not provided by the state, and for-fee? If so then how could a study exclude 'selection bias', if by that you mean, "a self-selecting group of parents"? – ChrisW Aug 22 '13 at 10:55
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    Where's the notable claim here? – EnergyNumbers Aug 22 '13 at 19:05

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