There have been a limited number of studies involving Montessori education. Many of the oldest studies focused on the Head start program. In some studies the Montessori children studied were of a very short duration or with untrained teachers. In more recent studies, the majority of these studies show that children in Montessori programs do better on a wide variety of academic and social measures.
Angeline Lillard has conducted some of the largest research projects to date using students that were enrolled in Montessori schools and control schools by lottery. This study was published in Science magazine and showed positive results for Montessori children of several ages. Angeline Lillard has also summarized current research in education and learning that relates to Montessori in her book The Science Behind the Genius.
Additional information on research can be found at the following websites.
Montessori Research Findings by the Montessori Foundation– Research has focused on: the history of Montessori education; beliefs and attitudes of Montessori teachers; benefits from a Montessori education for children who are either at-risk or who are exceptional learners; and achievement and social development for Montessori students versus non-Montessori students. In general, research findings over the years suggest that Montessori students achieve at greater levels as compared to their non-Montessori peers and develop more positive social skills. The best results most likely occur for children who complete the entire three year early childhood program and then continue through the entire elementary and middle school programs.
National Institute for Early Education Research – The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) conducts and communicates research to support high quality, effective, early childhood education for all young children. Such education enhances their physical, cognitive, and social development, and subsequent success in school and later life.
A new study has shown that students that attend pre-k are likely to have higher reading scores by age 3. For more details look at the full article from the Center for Public Education