5-2 | Playful Learning and Montessori Education


Playful Learning and Montessori Education

Angeline S. Lillard


Although Montessori education is often considered a form of playful learning, Maria Montessori herself spoke negatively about a major component of playful learning—pretend play, or fantasy—for young children. In this essay, the author discusses this apparent contradiction: how and why Montessori education includes elements of playful learning while simultaneously eschewing fantasy. She concludes with a discussion of research on the outcomes of Montessori education and on pretend-play research, clarifying how Montessori education relates to playful learning. Key words: didactic education: Montessori education: playful learning; preschool; pretend play