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The Montessori Science Program (MSP) achieves its goals through four primary strategies.

Advancement of Research 

The MSP promotes community awareness and understanding of the Montessori method and related research, particularly that which builds evidence regarding the effectiveness and implementation of the approach as an equity lever. Research activities included:

  • A meta-analysis of Montessori educations’ impact on student outcomes that retained 32 studies, all of which showed evidence of baseline equivalence, experimental or quasi-experimental design, and sufficient sample size to calculate effect sizes. Results showed medium to large positive effects for all 9 of the measures examined, which included both academic and social-emotional outcomes.
  • A presentation at a national conference that was attended by Montessori researchers, advocates, practitioners, and policymakers from across the country, and highlighted the research base that supports equitable expansion of Montessori education. 
  • A study that used publicly available standardized test scores to compare the performance of 195 public Montessori schools, located across 10 states, with those of their home districts on math and reading. It found that Montessori students were more likely to be found proficient on state tests. More importantly, opportunity gaps were significantly smaller in Montessori schools. Black, Hispanic, and low-income children in Montessori schools scored higher in reading than district averages at both test points (3rd & 8th grade), while Black Montessori students tested higher in both subjects at both test points.
Legislative Advocacy 

The MSP advocates for flexible public policy and legislation, focusing efforts on policies that expand access to fully-implemented Montessori programming for underserved families: 

  • In partnership with the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI) and Arlington Public Schools, the MSP achieved a pathway to VA state licensure for Montessori credentialed teachers. This pathway eliminates the need for duplicative and expensive dual-credentialing, making Montessori education, as well as a Montessori career, more equitable and accessible. 
  • Underway: The MSP is currently working in partnership with Arlington Public Schools and MPPI to ensure that the Montessori approach to literacy in grades K-3 is approved under the Virginia Literacy Act as a Science of Reading aligned curriculum. 
Expansion of Equitable Access

The MSP supports educators and providers working to expand equitable access to publicly-funded Montessori programming within our research radius: 

  • Over the past year, the MSP, in partnership with the Virginia Montessori Association, has advanced efforts that resulted in an over 200% increase in the number of publicly funded Montessori preschool programs statewide. 
  • The MSP is currently supporting multiple groups in regions across Virginia to explore the establishment of lab, magnet, and/or district Montessori programs. 
Development of Training and Career Pipeline

The MSP works to promotes Montessori education as a career option by connecting prospective teachers to financial and logistical resources and opportunities: 

  • The pathway to state licensure for Montessori teachers, described above, makes a career in Montessori education more accessible, Montessori teachers more compelling hires, and Montessori programming as more feasible for districts. 
  • Underway: The MSP is currently working in partnership with the Virginia Montessori Association to advocate that prospective Montessori teachers be eligible for state-funded early childhood educator scholarships. 

Visit the Montessori Science Program Homepage

Learn more about our research, our programs, and our impact.


LeBoeuf, L., Goldstein-Greenwood, J. &, Lillard, A. S (2023). Chronic Absenteeism in Title 1 Montessori and Non-Montessori schools, Frontiers in Education. 

Lillard, A. S., Tong, X., & Bray, P. M. (2023). Seeking Racial and Ethnic Parity in Preschool Outcomes: An Exploratory Study of Public Montessori vs. Business-as-Usual Schools. Journal of Montessori Research, 9(1), 16-36.  

Randolph, J. J., Bryson, A., Menon, L., Henderson, D. K., Kureethara Manuel, A., Michaels, S., rosenstein, d. l. w., McPherson, W., O’Grady, R., & Lillard, A. S. (2023). Montessori education’s impact on academic and non academic outcomes: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 19, e1330. 

Borgman, C. (2022, Sept. 30th-Oct. 2nd). Get a grip on research. [Conference presentation]. MPPI 2022 Conference, Washington, DC, United States. 

Borgman, C. & Lillard, A.S.. How children learn to read: An Overview. Montessori Public. Fall, 2022. 

Lillard, A.S., Tong, X, & Snyder, A. Standardized test performance in public Montessori schools. Journal of School Choice. 2022.