Marie Ifollo

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Carroll, Margaret L.||Nerbovig, Marcella H., 1919-2002

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Education


Education; Montessori method of teaching


Among the promoters of the American Montessori Movement, there appear to be divergents of opinions about the application of some of Montessori's ideas. The American Montessori Society maintains that adaptation of Dr. Montessori's tenets to suit the needs of American children in the American environment is necessary. Dr. Montessori herself stressed the importance of the environment and the need to recognize the world in which the child is actually living. As the Montessori approach has been modified in every culture in which it is found, some modifications in this country would be necessary if Montessori is to make a permanent contribution to American education. At present, there is scarcely any research geared directly to evaluating Montessori. The effectiveness of the Montessori approach for American children is yet to be evaluated. No significant research has been undertaken to date verifying the extent to which the results of Montessori training actually approximate the claims envisioned by Montessori theory. American interest in Montessori has only been reawakened within the last four years. It was the purpose of this study to compare the original Montessori approach to education as described in the literature with the present American schools using the Montessori approach. More specifically, this study examined the following questions: (1) What are the distinguishing characteristics of the original Montessori approach to education? (2) Are these characteristics present in the American schools using the Montessori approach? In an attempt to answer the fir s t question, a n available books written by and about Dr. Montessori's approach to learning, current literature including magazine articles, Communications Bulletins from the Association Montessori International in Holland, and books written about the Montessori approach were read. The books by Dr. Maria Montessori were The Secret of Childhood, The Advanced Montessori Method, What You Should Know About Your Child, The Discovery of the Child, The Child, The Formation of Man, The Absorbent Mind, La Scoperta Del Bambino, and Reconstruction in Education. Procedure for answering the second question included (1) the observation of certain selected schools using this approach and (2) the interpretation of the responses to a questionnaire which was given to the Montessori directresses concerning the prepared environment in teaching American children. This study showed that the writer's observations of the prepared environment and materials for development were in evidence in the distinguishing characteristics of Dr. Montessori's approach. The role of the directress in the prepared environment showed that there were variations between Dr. Montessori's belief and the role of the directress. The interview summary showed that there were some areas concerning the Montessori approach upon which the directresses agreed and some upon which there was disagreement concerning the prepared environment in teaching American children.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 65-67)


vii, 82 pages




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