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Talk Lillard - Lectures Series

Why is Montessori a Facilitative Environment for Theory of Mind?


Prof. Angeline Lillard

University of Virginia


In this talk Prof. Lillard report three studies in which children in classic Montessori classrooms performed better than other children on theory of mind assessments. Two studies used as a comparison group children who had lost a lottery to go to Montessori and were at other schools, and one used demographically similar children at schools favored by the Montessori children's parents. Two studies had baseline assessments at which all groups were equal. Results from the three studies suggest Montessori is a facilitative environment for theory of mind. We speculate on four possible reasons for this Montessori advantage, including our finding that Montessori also appears to be a facilitative environment for executive function.


For more information:

Evaluating Montessori Education, Science,  2006

Intervention Shown to Aid Executive Function Development in Children from 4 to 12 Years Old, Science, 2011

Preschool children's development in classic Montessori, supplemented Montessori, and conventional programsJournal of Psychology, 2012