The impact of the Montessori Education on early number learning in French pre-schools

Keywords: Early numerical abilities; Montessori education; didactical analysis; preschool; disadvantaged area


There is a paucity of research on Montessori Education's impact on learning, especially in France. In this article, we present a study comparing the development of early number learning in preschoolers through Montessori Education with “conventional” education in France. Using a cross-sectional design and random assignment of children, we evaluated 131 French preschoolers (aged 5-6) enrolled at the same public school following either Montessori Education or conventional education over three years. Students were evaluated with the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III) Applied Problems sub-test and a test designed by researchers in math education. The Montessori curriculum was associated with outcomes that were comparable to the conventional curriculum on math.

Author Biographies

Marie-Caroline Croset, Université Grenoble Alpes

Marie-Caroline Croset is an associate professor in the field of didactics of mathematics and a mathematics teacher trainer in Grenoble (France). Her current research focuses on learning and teaching numbers from nursery school to high school, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Université Grenoble Alpes, Bât. IMAG, 700 av. Centrale CS 40700 - 38058 Grenoble CEDEX 9 - France


Philippine Courtier, Éducation Nationale – Académie de Créteil

Philippine Courtier is a psychologist of the French Education Nationale in Paris. She defended her PhD in developmental psychology at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre in 2019. Her work focused on the impact of Montessori pedagogy on the cognitive, social and academic development of disadvantaged kindergarteners.

Éducation Nationale – Académie de Créteil, 4 Rue Georges Enesco, 94000 Créteil


Marie-Line Gardes, HEP Vaud

Marie-Line Gardes is a full professor at the Haute École Pédagogique in Lausanne. She is a teacher trainer at primary and secondary level and a researcher in the didactics of mathematics. Her research focuses on teaching and learning of mathematics through problem-solving and on learning difficulties and disorders in mathematics. She is also interested in the links between research in the cognitive sciences and in the didactics of mathematics.

HEP Vaud, Avenue de Cour 33 - 1014 Lausanne


How to Cite
Croset, M.-C., Courtier, P. and Gardes, M.-L. (2023) “The impact of the Montessori Education on early number learning in French pre-schools”, Swiss Journal of Educational Research, 45(3), pp. 307–319. doi: 10.24452/sjer.45.3.7.