Because the Montessori approach has only recently become more prevalent as a public school option nationally, research on the effectiveness of the Montessori method in public schools is just becoming available.
These two studies (linked below) take place in Milwaukee, where there have been multiple public Montessori schools for many years:
Dr. Montessori was a constructivist in close alignment with child development experts like Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky.
Constructivism is a philosophy of learning based on the premise that by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. We individually generate our own “rules” and “mental models,” which we then use to make sense of our experiences. Learning is then a process of adjusting our mental models to assimilate and incorporate new experiences.
Both Piaget and Montessori believed children develop in a progression sequence. Both recommended children learn through hands-on, multi-modality activities where they are focused on creating mental models versus rote memorization of facts, where there are multiple measures of assessing learning, and where students’ prior knowledge is incorporated into the curriculum.
The Montessori method is in close alignment with child development and current brain research, but unlike the contributions of Vygotsky or Piaget, Montessori provided more than just research or beliefs about how children learn.
The Montessori program is a comprehensive instructional system which comes with extensive teacher training and certification, specific instructional materials and assessments covering all disciplines, proven instructional strategies and methods, clear goals and standards for mastery, and aligned curriculum and materials around classroom culture and management — all developed from a strong theoretical foundation.