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Journal of Montessori Research
Number of Followers: 8  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2378-3923
Published by U of Kansas Homepage  [20 journals]
  • From the Editor

    • Authors: Angela Murray
      Keywords: From the Editor ; Mortarboard Review

      • Authors: Joel Parham, Jennifer Moss, Katie Keller Wood
        Abstract: This is the second article in an ongoing series, published annually, highlighting a selection of English-language dissertations from the previous calendar year related to Montessori philosophy and education. Thirteen doctoral dissertations completed and approved during the 2023 calendar year were identified. The authors selected three dissertations to spotlight because they represent high-quality research in an area that is relevant to the current educational landscape: antibias and anti-racist (ABAR) educational practices.
        Keywords: Mortarboard Review ; Maria Montessori and the Mystery of Language Acquisition

        • Authors: Stephen Newman, Nathan Archer
          Abstract: Maria Montessori’s work remains popular and influential around the world. She provided fascinating descriptions of her observations of children’s learning. Yet at the heart of her work is a lacuna: the issue of how children learn their first language. For Montessori, it was a marvel, a miracle—but a mystery. We argue that the later philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein offers a way forward. With the clearer view offered by Wittgenstein’s reminders, we propose that Montessori’s work can be reevaluated to better understand Montessori’s contribution, child development and, in particular, how children acquire a first language.
          Keywords: Articles ; Validation of the Teacher Questionnaire of Montessori Practice for Early
                 Childhood in the Dutch Context

          • Authors: Jaap de Brouwer, Vivian Morssink-Santing, Symen van der Zee
            Abstract: Montessori education has existed for more than 100 years and counts almost 16,000 schools worldwide (Debs et al., 2022). Still, little is known about the implementation and fidelity of Montessori principles. Measuring implementations holds significant importance as it provides insight into current Montessori practices and because it is assumed that implementation might influence its effectiveness. In the Netherlands, it is especially important to measure fidelity because of the country’s history of flexible implementation of Montessori principles. No instruments currently exist that are specifically designed to measure Montessori implementation in the Dutch context. This study aims to validate a translated version of the Teacher Questionnaire for Montessori Practices, developed by Murray et al. (2019), within the Dutch early childhood education context. Additionally, it seeks to investigate the extent to which Montessori principles are implemented in Dutch early childhood schools. Data were collected from 131 early childhood Montessori teachers. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the Dutch dataset did not align with the factor structure proposed by Murray et al. (2019). Subsequent exploratory factor analysis led to the identification of a 3-factor solution, encompassing dimensions related to Children’s Freedom, Teacher Guidance, and Curriculum, which shows some similarities with Murray et al.’s (2019) factors. Implementation levels in the Netherlands varied, with the highest level of implementation observed in Children’s Freedom and the lowest in Curriculum.
            Keywords: Articles ; Educational Pacifism and Montessori

            • Authors: Nicholas Parkin
              Abstract: Educational theory and practice is dominated by mass formal schooling systems, which routinely and unjustly harm many students. I call this stance “educational pacifism,” and in this paper argue that Montessorians ought to be educational pacifists. That is, they ought to recognize, understand, and reject systemic educational harm and ensure that it does not occur in their own practice, so that Montessori students are not harmed during their education and so that Montessori education might provide a nonharmful educational alternative to mass formal schooling. I suggest that Maria Montessori was, broadly speaking, herself an educational pacifist, and that not only is educational pacifism the morally right position for a Montessorian, but also that it is naturally a Montessorian position.
              Keywords: Articles ; From the Editor

              • Authors: Angela K. Murray; PhD
                Keywords: From the Editor ; Rediscovering the Child

                • Authors: Kateri Carver , Sarah Hassebroek
                  Abstract: Action research is the term used for investigations done in the field, often by practitioners, and typically with a pragmatic rather than theoretical purpose (Willis & Edwards, 2014). This type of research is a key part of many Montessori teacher education programs, but the value of this important work is often lost to the field because the papers reside in separate institutional repositories with limited indexing. The Journal of Montessori Research is introducing a new annual review article series which features selected graduate student action research studies. The authors of this recurring series of articles represent Montessori teacher preparation programs and other university-based research roles. They will select studies that they believe are particularly high quality and relevant to the journal’s readers. We are calling this series of articles “Rediscovering the Child” to honor Maria Montessori’s seminal work and to acknowledge that all Montessori teachers engage in an ongoing process of rediscovering the children in their classrooms. When this process is formalized, action research is the result. This article is the first in the series and highlights six studies from University of Wisconsin-River Falls and St. Catherine University. In the coming issues, we will likely refine some aspects of our selection and review processes and expand the programs represented.
                  Keywords: Action Research Review ; Book Review

                  • Authors: Susan Feez
                    Abstract: A century on, as young children in Montessori classrooms around the world continue to engage with Sandpaper Letters, Metal Insets, Moveable Alphabets, and Reading Command cards, an accumulation of studies into how children learn to read from across a range of
                    disciplines has generated an influential body of research evidence that has been dubbed the science of reading. The science of reading is currently being used to shape education policy and mandated curriculum documents, especially in the English-speaking world. For this reason, the comparative analysis of the Montessori approach and the science of reading presented in Powerful Literacy in
                    the Montessori Classroom: Aligning Reading Research and Practice will be welcomed by many Montessori educators.
                    Keywords: Book Reviews ; Reframing and Recontextualizing Maria Montessori’s 1915 California

                    • Authors: Joel Parham
                      Abstract: Maria Montessori’s visit to California in 1915—her second visit to the United States—coincided with multiple events in the region: San Francisco’s Panama–Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), San Diego’s Panama–California Exposition (PCE), and the National Education Association of the United States (NEA) annual meeting in Oakland. Her visit also came at a time when the American Montessori movement was splintering, and the academic elite increasingly criticized her educational model. These circumstances made Montessori’s visit to California a potentially valuable opportunity to rekindle interest in Montessori education across the United States. Discussions of Montessori’s visit in 1915 have been framed around her training course and demonstration school at the PPIE. Based on information from primary sources (e.g., newspapers and archival materials), some of which have been overlooked, this article asserts that her visit to California had broader implications. While her eight months in California did have a positive impact on the growth of the Montessori movement, Montessori’s engagement with mainstream education had limited impact and it gave way to waning interest in Montessori education in the United States.
                      Keywords: Articles ; Understanding Circle Time Practices in Montessori Early Childhood Settings

                      • Authors: Andrea Koczela, Kateri Carver
                        Abstract: Circle time is commonplace in traditional preschools, yet there are few references to the practice in Montessori’s writings or in major Montessori organizations’ and teacher education standards. This article investigates whether circle time is frequent in Montessori 3–6-year-old classrooms using data from a widely distributed Qualtrics survey. The results, from 276 respondents spanning all 50 states, provide insight into the circle time practices of United States-based preschool Montessori teachers, also known in Montessori classrooms as guides. We present novel information regarding circle time duration and frequency, types of circle time activities, Montessori guides’ circle time training and planning, whether children’s circle time attendance is free choice or compulsory, and the nature of circle time in programs associated with Association Montessori Internationale versus American Montessori Society. Results revealed that 92% of survey participants have circle time every day or most days; most participants hold circle time for 20 minutes or less; the most common circle time events were show-and-tell, calendar work, vocabulary lessons, Grace and Courtesy lessons, read aloud discussions, dancing and movement, snack time, general conversation, read aloud (stories), and birthday celebrations. We found that many of the most frequent circle time activities do not align with children’s preferences, teacher preferences, or Early Childhood best practices. Our work invites Montessorians to engage in the work of reconstructing the traditional practice of circle time to better align with Montessori hallmarks of choice, development of the will, and joyfulness.
                        Keywords: Articles ; Montessori’s Perspective on Citizenship Education

                        • Authors: Jaap de Brouwer, Lida Klaver , Symen van der Zee
                          Abstract: The purpose of this study is to synthesize Montessori’s writings on citizenship education to support the implementation of a Montessorian view. This synthesis demonstrates that Montessori was of the explicit conviction that a better world can be achieved through citizenship education, as it strives for a peaceful and harmonious society. We approach this topic through the Dutch context. Although schools in the Netherlands are required by law to promote active citizenship and social cohesion, this law does not stipulate which of the many different views on citizenship education schools must adhere to. Schools have the liberty to devise their own citizenship curricula if they can substantiate their views and choices. For Montessori schools, this requires insight into Montessori’s view on citizenship education. Although Montessori’s views are still largely appropriate in our time, an ongoing dialogue about citizenship education is required, as Montessori lived and worked in a specific geopolitical context. Based on our analysis, we have identified seven themes that characterize Montessori’s view on citizenship education: one common citizenship goal; preparation for independent thinking and action; image of the future citizen; adapted and critical citizens; humanity for harmony; knowledge as prerequisite, personality development as goal; and an ever-expanding worldview. The results of this study provide valuable insights for designing and teaching citizenship education through a Montessorian lens.
                          Keywords: Articles ; Montessori Elder and Dementia Care, and Trauma-Informed Approaches

                          • Authors: Bernadette Phillips
                            Abstract: According to the World Health Organization, there are currently more than 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, and this figure is expected to triple by 2050. Recent studies suggest that there may be a link between childhood trauma (which refers to exposure to overwhelmingly stressful experiences before the age of 18 years) and the onset of dementia in later life. Therefore, in communities caring for persons living with dementia, some residents may have been exposed to trauma in childhood. Currently, there is an increasing awareness of the negative impact of childhood trauma on later adult health and well-being, and a corresponding recognition of the need for services, including for dementia care, to be trauma-informed. In the last decade, the Montessori Method has become established as a legitimate approach to elder/dementia care. However, it has not yet been examined as a trauma-informed approach. The aim of this paper is to address that gap by (a) highlighting how Maria Montessori took steps to integrate interdisciplinary knowledge of trauma into her Method when she began to understand the potential of childhood trauma to adversely impact adult health and well-being, and (b) outlining how the Montessori Method, when applied to dementia care, incorporates many of the core principles of trauma-informed practice. This paper concludes that the Montessori Method for dementia care has the built-in capacity to be trauma-sensitive and trauma-responsive, but that its ongoing rollout should follow Montessori’s lead by specifically integrating knowledge about the neurobiology of trauma into its training programs.
                            Keywords: Articles ; From the Editor

                            • Authors: Angela K. Murray; PhD
                              Keywords: From the Editor ; BOOK REVIEW The Bloomsbury Handbook of Montessori Education

                              • Authors: Claudine Campanelli
                                Abstract: The Bloomsbury Handbook of Montessori Education is the first comprehensive collection of scholarly work that spans the spectrum of Montessori education, including historical, political, geographic, pedagogical, scientific, and cultural perspectives. It offers different entry points for those interested in various aspects of Montessori education—advocates, researchers, academics, parents, and teacher educators—to expand their current knowledge about the Montessori pedagogy and movement. The handbook approaches known ideas with an interdisciplinary lens. Maria Montessori’s critical writings and radical approaches cemented her legacy. Now, nearly 115 years after her first publication, essential dialogues and critical reflections are emerging about complex social issues in the context of Montessori education. These dialogues recognize the strengths and limitations of the Method as well as the harmful and disrespectful ways Montessori education has entered different communities, countries, and Indigenous lands.
                                Keywords: Book Reviews ; Seeking Racial and Ethnic Parity in Preschool Outcomes

                                • Authors: Angeline S. Lillard, Xin Tong, Paige M. Bray
                                  Abstract: Montessori pedagogy is a century-old, whole-school system increasingly used in the public sector. In the United States, public Montessori schools are typically Title I schools that mostly serve children of color. The present secondary, exploratory data analysis examined outcomes of 134 children who entered a lottery for admission to public Montessori schools in the northeastern United States at age 3; half were admitted and enrolled and the rest enrolled at other preschool programs. About half of the children were identified as White, and half were identified as African American, Hispanic, or multiracial. Children were tested in the fall when they enrolled and again in the subsequent three springs (i.e., through the kindergarten year) on a range of measures addressing academic outcomes, executive function, and social cognition. Although the Black, Hispanic, and multiracial group tended to score lower in the beginning of preschool in both conditions, by the end of preschool, the scores of Black, Hispanic, and multiracial students enrolled in Montessori schools were not different from the White children; by contrast, such students in the business-as-usual schools continued to perform less well than White children in academic achievement and social cognition. The study has important limitations that lead us to view these findings as exploratory, but taken together with other findings, the results suggest that Montessori education may create an environment that is more conducive to racial and ethnic parity than other school environments.
                                  Keywords: Articles ; Making Sense of Montessori Teacher Identity, Montessori Pedagogy, and
                                         Educational Policies in Public Schools

                                  • Authors: Heather E. Gerker
                                    Abstract: Montessori teachers in public schools navigate a system daily that often does not align with their pedagogy, and district policies push them to stray from high-fidelity implementation. Using Weick’s sensemaking theory and literature on Montessori teacher identity, I contend that Montessori teachers’ identity plays a crucial role in how, or if, they respond to educational policies that may not seemingly align with the Montessori Method. The overarching purpose of this study was to understand Montessori public school teachers’ experiences with policies that influence their pedagogy. Through qualitative interviews and a culminating group-level assessment session, three themes emerged as teachers shared their experiences with educational policies: (a) Montessori pedagogy is more than the materials, (b) districts often force district-wide requirements that are at odds with the Montessori pedagogy, and (c) Montessori teachers in public schools do not feel supported. This article concludes with a discussion of how to better support Montessori teachers in public school settings based on the study’s findings.
                                    Keywords: Articles ; Mortarboard Review

                                    • Authors: Jennifer D. Moss, Joel Parham
                                      Abstract: This article is the first in a series of planned reviews to be published annually that highlight a selection of dissertations. Some aspects of the selection and review methodology may be adjusted in coming issues as the process is refined to maximize the value to the field. Twenty-three Montessori-related dissertations completed during 2021 and 2022 were identified that represented five broad categories based on topic or subject matter. Two dissertations were selected for inclusion in this review because they represent high-quality research in areas that are of particular relevance and value to the field at this time: (a) public Montessori education and issues of equity and intercultural competence and (b) teacher perspectives and technology.
                                      Keywords: Mortarboard Review ;
                                      School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
                                      Heriot-Watt University
                                      Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762

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