Montessori Research Symposium

An abstract graphic set to the right of text that reads: Montessori Research Symposium, Joseph R. Pearson Hall RM 150 Friday, October 13th, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Montessori Research Symposium is part of the Montessori Working Group’s annual Montessori Research Retreat, focusing on the goals of building a diverse community of Montessori researchers, mentoring early career researchers, fostering research collaborations, and pursuing initiatives to move Montessori research forward.

It is split into two parts, a KU Community Invited Session and a Doctoral Student Session aimed at offering Doctoral Students a chance to gain valuable insight from the nearly 30 national and international scholars attending the broader Montessori Research Retreat.

The 2023 Montessori Research Retreat is funded by a grant from Wend. The Montessori Working Group thanks Wend for their support of our efforts.

KU Community Invited Session JRP RM 150
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

*Coffee and snacks will be offered in JRP RM 247

8 am – 8:30 am

Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

Doctoral Student Session
1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Current Developments in Montessori Research KU Community Invited Session JRP RM 150 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

A brief introduction and welcome to the session from Angela Murray, University of Kansas and Director of Center for Learner Agency Research and Action.

Dr. Angela Murray is an associate research professor and graduate lecturer at the University of Kansas (KU), teaching courses in research methods and statistics.  She is the director of the KU Center for Learner Agency Research and Action (CLARA), founding chair of the AERA Montessori Special Interest Group, founding editor of the Journal of Montessori Research. and lead editor for the Bloomsbury Handbook of Montessori EducationDr. Murray earned her doctorate from KU in psychology and research in education, with a minor in cultural anthropology and was awarded honors for her dissertation, “Public Perceptions of Montessori Education.” She has published extensively on Montessori education and has presented on learner agency fostering pedagogies at numerous national and international conferences.

An overview of meta-analysis from Angeline Lillard, University of Virginia.

Angeline Lillard

Dr. Angeline Lillard, an elected fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. She received her doctorate in psychology from Stanford University in 1991, and she was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Boyd McCandless Award for Distinguished Early Career Contribution in 1999. Her book “Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius,” now in its third edition, received the Cognitive Development Society Book Award. She has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Pediatrics, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and many private foundations.

How does neuroscience intersect with the principles of Montessori? Solange Denervaud, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), discusses her research.

Solange Denervaud

Dr. Solange Denervaud is a research associate at CIBM, Center for Biomedical Imaging, EPFL, Switzerland. She graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in bioengineering and completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV-UNIL), bridging Neuroscience and education. She is trained in Montessori education and previously taught at the Vevey Montessori School. Denervaud’s research focuses on the impact of the learning environment on the development of core mechanisms of adaptation (i.e., error monitoring, cognitive flexibility, creativity, peer-peer learning) in schoolchildren and teenagers. Her work uses a combination of psychophysics, neuropsychology, electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Diedra W Carlson  
Montessori Black Resistance


Amy Christensen   
Building Cultural Responsiveness: Montessori Math in the Freedom School Setting


Heather Gerker      
Montessori Teachers as Policy Advocates: the Political Self-Efficacy and Advocacy Engagement of Public School Montessori Teachers


Lee LeBoeuf
Student-teacher relationship quality in Montessori and non-Montessori Preschool


Paola Zanchi
Impact of School Pedagogy on the Spatiotemporal Brain Network Dynamics of Students

Doctoral Student Session 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Assistant Research Professor with CLARA / AAI Dr. Jade Caines Lee opens the the doctoral student session and also serves as the event's facilitator. 


Jade Caines Lee

Jade Caines Lee, PhD, is an assistant research professor and leads the Equity and Assessment area within KU Center for Learner Agency Research and Action (CLARA).  She has been a career educator, teaching P-12, undergraduate, and graduate students for over 20 years. She has presented and published in the areas of validity, classroom assessment, evaluation research, and fairness issues in the educational measurement field.



Keynote presentation with researcher Angeline Lillard.

Doctoral students present brief overviews of their research.

Doctoral students ask questions of research attendees.