We welcome long-awaited academic research which shows a clear link between the Montessori educational approach and greater long-term well-being.
The new study has found that children who attend Montessori schools often have greater well-being and happiness in adulthood.The findings, published in academic journal Frontiers in Psychology, suggest a Montessori education is superior to conventional education in terms of long-term psychological well-being outcomes or what the researchers describe as “the felt experience of health, happiness and flourishing”. The reasons for this could include children being able to choose their own work and participate in meaningful activities and greater social stability in their classes and peer groups. The research team was led by Dr. Angeline Lillard of the University of Virginia, who previewed the research findings at our conference in September 2019. The research found that those who attended a Montessori school for at least two years reported higher well-being than those who had not been to Montessori and that the longer a person had attended a Montessori school, the higher their level of well-being. While these findings are no surprise to Montessori educators, parents or children, the robust research and clear evidence for one of the key benefits of Montessori are a welcome addition to our on-going mission to use Montessori to empower the next generation to be happier and more fulfilled.
The researchers conducted a series of well-being surveys with nearly 2,000 American adults and controlled for age, race, gender and socioeconomic status enabling them to exclude these as being likely to be making substantial contributions to the results.
The findings suggest that a Montessori curriculum boosts childhood and adult well-being by focusing on activities that promote self-determination (children in Montessori classrooms choose their own work most of the time and feel like they are in charge of their own educations); meaningful activities (children only take part in activities for which the underlying reasons are clear); and social stability and cohesion (classrooms span three years during which children have the same teacher and peer group).