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Book Section

Executive Functions in Montessori Education

Book Title: The Bloomsbury Handbook of Montessori Education

Pages: 252-260

Cognitive development, Executive function, Maria Montessori - Philosophy, Montessori method of education - Criticism, interpretation, etc., Montessori method of education - Evaluation

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Abstract/Notes: Executive functions are cognitive processes involved in the brain’s governing and self-regulation. Having strong executive functions can be a predictor of school readiness, literacy skills, and even life success. This chapter connects Montessori education practices, such as differentiated instruction, scaffolding, self-directed learning, and active learning, to practices believed to enhance development of executive functions. The chapter also examines empirical evidence related to the effects of Montessori education on executive functions. The chapter concludes that Montessori practices align with strategies for enhancing executive functions, but research on Montessori education’s impact has yielded both positive and conflicting results.

Language: English

Published: New York, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-350-27561-4 978-1-350-27560-7 978-1-350-27562-1

Series: Bloomsbury Handbooks

Article

Executive Function and Tools of the Mind

Publication: Communications: Journal of the Association Montessori Internationale (2009-2012), vol. 2010, no. 1

Pages: 12–28

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Abstract/Notes: Prof. Diamond is a neuropsychologist and this lecture was delivered as the keynote address following AMI's Annual General Meeting on April 10, 2010, Amsterdam. Her presentation focused on early development of the cognitive control functions - collectively called Executive Functions - dependent on prefrontal cortex. She touched upon many aspects that are controlled from prefrontal cortex, such as planning and problem solving, self-control, creativity, inhibiting impulsive actions, etc. She also discusses at length The Tools of the Mind Programme which she has assessed.

Language: English

ISSN: 1877-539X

Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

Physical Activity Improving Executive Functioning Behaviors in Montessori Children Ages 3-12

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research

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Abstract/Notes: Executive function refers to the intellectual processes necessary for goal-directed cognition and behavior, which develop across childhood and adolescence. This study focused on the effects of physical activity on concentration and focus, prior to academic lessons, in urban Montessori classrooms ages 3-12. This study was administered for six weeks utilizing a thematic calendar of physical activities. The tools used for data collection were: a pre-dialogue with teachers, pre and post-assessments, control tallies, on and off-task observation counts and a post-satisfaction survey. Movement interventions improved focus and concentration by an average of 27%. The data collected supported our hypothesis that purposeful movement activities increase executive functioning skill development. Action plan implications include providing professional development training on movement activities and transitions for teachers and further research on the ability to improve children’s initiative to choose lessons independently. Physical activity opportunities should be incorporated into classroom schedules, as positive associations have been found between classroom-based physical activity and indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, academic behavior, and academic achievement (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2019

Article

Montessori and Executive Function

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 30, no. 1

Pages: 15

Executive function

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Abstract/Notes: Zelazo, Blair, and Willoughby (2016) refer to executive function as the attention-regulation skills that overlap with attributes of fluid intelligence, self-regulation, and social-emotional learning. (2017) is a randomized longitudinal study of preschool children who were enrolled in two high-poverty Montessori magnet schools and 71 non-Montessori control schools (both public and private) where at least one student in the study attended over the 6-year period of data collection. National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

Article

Preparation for Life: How the Montessori Classroom Facilitates the Development of Executive Function Skills

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 25, no. 1

Pages: 14-18

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Abstract/Notes: Educational philosophy in elementary and secondary schools has often centered on creating a "product," full of content knowledge and basic skills (Bagby, 2002). However, no longer is academic achievement in the classroom considered the sole gauge of lifelong success. Meltzer (2010) suggested that the development of executive functioning skills utilized to reach academic achievement is equally important--skills such as prioritizing, planning, self-checking, and setting short-term and long-term goals. Being able to plan, organize, and monitor one's time are crucial skills in today's world. These three competencies are only a few of the elements of "executive function," an umbrella term referring to the cognitive processes that guide, direct, and manage thinking, emotional responses, and behavior. Dawson and Guare (2010) provided an overview of how executive function skills operate to maximize student success. The authors will consider three of these skills--planning, organization, and time management--and will illustrate how each is developed through Montessori practices.

Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

Article

✓ Peer Reviewed

Beyond Executive Functions, Creativity Skills Benefit Academic Outcomes: Insights from Montessori Education

Available from: PLoS Journals

Publication: PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 11

Neuroscience

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Abstract/Notes: Studies have shown scholastic, creative, and social benefits of Montessori education, benefits that were hypothesized to result from better executive functioning on the part of those so educated. As these previous studies have not reported consistent outcomes supporting this idea, we therefore evaluated scholastic development in a cross-sectional study of kindergarten and elementary school-age students, with an emphasis on the three core executive measures of cognitive flexibility, working memory update, and selective attention (inhibition). Two hundred and one (201) children underwent a complete assessment: half of the participants were from Montessori settings, while the other half were controls from traditional schools. The results confirmed that Montessori participants outperformed peers from traditional schools both in academic outcomes and in creativity skills across age groups and in self-reported well-being at school at kindergarten age. No differences were found in global executive functions, except working memory. Moreover, a multiple mediations model revealed a significant impact of creative skills on academic outcomes influenced by the school experience. These results shed light on the possibly overestimated contribution of executive functions as the main contributor to scholastic success of Montessori students and call for further investigation. Here, we propose that Montessori school-age children benefit instead from a more balanced development stemming from self-directed creative execution.

Language: English

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225319

ISSN: 1932-6203

Article

Enhancement of Executive Function in the Prepared Environment

Publication: Communications: Journal of the Association Montessori Internationale (2009-2012), vol. 2012, no. 1-2

Pages: 42–53

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Abstract/Notes: Mr Quade, AMI trainer at the primary level, gives a very concise and enlightening overview of how Executive Functions relate and respond to the Montessori prepared environment. He takes in all aspects and of fers insightful observations on the recognition of sensitive periods—for order, movement, language, sensory refinement, sensitivity for small objects, and social behaviour. All these enable Montessori teachers to provide opportunities for learning at the optimal moment of receptivity.

Language: English

ISSN: 1877-539X

Article

Montessori, Poverty, and Executive Function

Available from: MontessoriPublic

Publication: Montessori Public, vol. 2, no. 1

Pages: 17

Public Montessori

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Language: English

Article

Research Watch: The Executive Functions of the Brain and How Montessori Practice Can Be Connected to Their Enhancement

Publication: Montessori International, no. 115

Pages: 40–41

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Language: English

ISSN: 1470-8647

Article

✓ Peer Reviewed

Activities and Programs that Improve Children's Executive Functions

Available from: SAGE Journals

Publication: Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 21, no. 5

Pages: 335-341

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Abstract/Notes: Executive functions (EFs; e.g., reasoning, working memory, and self-control) can be improved. Good news indeed, since EFs are critical for school and job success and for mental and physical health. Various activities appear to improve children's EFs. The best evidence exists for computer-based training, traditional martial arts, and two school curricula. Weaker evidence, though strong enough to pass peer review, exists for aerobics, yoga, mindfulness, and other school curricula. Here I address what can be learned from the research thus far, including that EFs need to be progressively challenged as children improve and that repeated practice is key. Children devote time and effort to activities they love; therefore, EF interventions might use children's motivation to advantage. Focusing narrowly on EFs or aerobic activity alone appears not to be as efficacious in improving EFs as also addressing children's emotional, social, and character development (as do martial arts, yoga, and curricula shown to improve EFs). Children with poorer EFs benefit more from training; hence, training might provide them an opportunity to "catch up" with their peers and not be left behind. Remaining questions include how long benefits of EF training last and who benefits most from which activities.

Language: English

DOI: 10.1177/0963721412453722

ISSN: 0963-7214, 1467-8721

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