If you've heard the anecdotal evidence, that Montessori children are smarter than those taught in traditional environments, you've probably been rather skeptical. After all, brilliant children can be found in both settings. But what about across the board?
In a study published in May of 2015, researchers in Iran examined the IQ's of 40 Montessori and 40 traditional students, all from their nation. They discovered significantly higher IQ levels in the Montessori children. Why?
Some have suggested it has to do with parenting, that moms and dads who choose Montessori for their children parent differently; hence, these parents nurture their child's natural intelligence. But if you talk with parents in the park or at the gym, you'll find that Montessori parents don't treat their children that much differently than parents who have enrolled their children in a traditional school. If that's true, what explains the difference in IQ's found in this recent study?
Some possibilities have been voiced by the researchers:
~ Children experience the real world in Montessori, with concrete objects making abstract concepts simple.
~ Individualized learning paths rely on self-correction, which in turn reinforces learning.
~ Montessori children are responsible for the classroom environment, which enhances social intelligence.
~ A sense of freedom helps Montessori children enjoy the learning process, leading to greater engagement.
We would add a few additional possible explanations:
~ Multi-age groupings (three year ranges) inspire younger students to greater heights and reinforce concepts for older mentors.
~ Children remain in the same class for three years, giving the Montessori teacher greater insight into each student.
~ Montessori early childhood experiences are hands-on, with greater neurological, mind-body potential.
~ Montessori is a holistic approach, emphasizing the training of all the senses, a form of cross training for the mind.
~ Montessori classrooms hold concentration as the gold standard, and greater concentration leads to greater intelligence.
These are just a few possible explanations. And while the research is still ongoing, we know definitively that the Montessori method works. Since 1907, no other pedagogical approach has seen such amazing results all throughout the world, in every culture, in every classroom, and potentially, in every child.