News

Recent News

Dr. Lillard was interviwed by Jesse McCarthy for MontessoriEducation.com's podcast! Check it out here.

Dr. Lillard published an opinion piece in The Dallas Morning News titled When so many school children can't read, it's time to do somethin different. Read it here!

Dr. Lillard will be speaking at the Montessori Public Policy Initiative Conference. Her talk is titled Research to Information your Advocacy and will be from 2:15-3:30 ET on Saturday, October 3. Learn more here

The lab celebrated Drs. Sierra Eisen and Jessica Taggart with a socially distant hooding ceremony! Congratulations! 

Jess, Sierra, and Dr. Lillard

Sierra, Bodhi (the dog), Jess, and Dr. Lillard

Ian, Lee, and Christina

Christina, Allyson, and Abha

 

Dr. Lillard's book Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius has been selected by Recorded Books to become an audiobook! Learn more about the book here, and check back for updates about its release as an audiobook! 

Dr. Lillard wrote a commentary for Child & Family blog about "lockdown learning" during the COVID-19 crisis. Read it here

Dr. Lillard spoke at the AMI conference in Mexico City. 

Dr. Lillard recently spoke in Chihuahua, Mexico. 

Dr. Lillard's article "Shunned and Admired: Montessori, Self-Determination, and a Case for Radical School Reform" was featured in Springer Nature 2019 Highlights as the second most highly viewed article of the year! 

Our lab's latest article "What Shall We Do: Pretend or Real? Preschoolers' Choices and Parents' Perceptions" was published today! You can read it here

Dr. Lillard's article on Montessori preschool and child outcomes has been viewed by over 115,000 people! Read it here: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01783. This news article also cites the study.

Archives

2019

Graduate student, Jessica Taggart, organized an Undergraduate Research Conference where undergraduate students involved in developmental psychology research in the department presented their projects. See our research assistants below!

Sydney and Maeve Presenting

Maeve and Sydney presented their poster: Maternal Quesiton-Asking During Children's Play with Physical and Digital Spatial Toys

Mary, Jess, and Meimei presenting

Mary and Meimei (with their mentor, Jess) presetend their poster: Children's Perceptions of Pretend Play as a Way to Develop Efficacy and Competence

Abha, Caroline, and Drake presenting

Drake and Caroline (with their mentor, Abha) presented their poster: Number Understanding Among Preschool Children

Momna presenting her poster

Momna presented her poster: Exploring How Race Affects Children's Preferences for Diverse Characters in Storybooks

Dr. Lillard was interviewed recently by Linda Geddes for an article on children's television: This is why children's TV is so weird - and so mesmerising

Dr. Lillard attended the Access Montessori Conference in Seattle. 

Dr. Lillard spoke at the German Society of Psychology Joint Conference of the Divisions for Educational and Developmental Psychology in Leipzig. 

Dr. Lillard spoke at the 100th Anniversary of Montessori in the United Kingdom. 

Dr. Lillard spoke to the Vancouver Island Montessori Association (VIMA) in Victoria, British Columbia.

Dr. Lillard was cited in a recent media article on the impact of Montessori education: A Public School Makes the Case for 'Montessori for All' Edutopia, April 25, 2019.

Dr. Lillard spoke at George Mason University in Washington D.C.

Dr. Lillard spoke at the Montessori Institute of North Texas and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

Dr. Lillard spoke to the Massachusetts Montessori Teachers' Association in Boston, MA.

The Early Development Lab said "goodbye" to their lab coordinator, Eren Fukuda, and "hello" to their new one, Allyson Snyder. Post-doc, Dermina Vasc made traditional Romanian food for the occassion. 

Post doc Dermina Vasc organized an Undergraduate Research Conference where undergraduate students involved in developmental psychology research in the department presented their projects. Some of our very own research assistants participated as well!

Mary and Parsa presented their poster titled "Young Children on Why Children Engage in Pretend and Real Activities" with their graduate student mentor Jess

Rana presented her poster titled "How to Wash a Table: Montessori Teaching in the Lab" with her mentor Dermina

Hyerin presented her poster: "The Role of Mothers in Children's Physical and Digital Spatial Play" with her graduate student mentor Sierra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate student, Abha Basargekar, taught the lab to make Indian food. 

2018

Dr. Lillard spoke at the Forest Bluff School in Lake Bluff, IL

Graudate student Jessica Taggart and Dr. Lillard wrote an article about pretend play and real activities for the Child and Family Blog: "Pretend play is less beneficial for early child development than play that's rooted in real life" Child & Family Blog , November 19, 2018

Graduate student Sierra Eisen was awarded an American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award!

More news articles about Jeff Bezos's plan for Montessori preschools have recently cited Dr. Lillard and collegues' studies:

Dr. Lillard was interviewed by Michele Molnar from EdWeek Market Brief, and was quoted in the following article about the announcement from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that he is contributing $2 billion to start "Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities": "Amazon's Jeff Bezos Announces $2 Billion Philanthropic Fund for Preschools, Homeless Families" EdWeek Market Brief, September 13, 2018

 

Dr. Lillard, along with Dr. Ann-Marie Faria and Ms. Karen Manship at the American Institutes for Research, received funding from the Institute of Education Sciences to conduct the first federally-funded study devoted to Montessori education. Click here to read more!

Graduate student Sierra Eisen was awarded the American Psychological Association Division 15 Dissertation Research Grants Award!

Dr. Lillard spoke to the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators in Toronto.

The Early Development Lab members celebrated the end of another productive year! Thank you to all the families and schools that have participated in our studies, and we look forward to the exciting new studies we are running this summer and beyond!

lab photo

Dr. Lillard spoke as a keynote speaker at the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) 2018 in Amsterdam, and spoke to teacher trainers in the Annual General Meeting.

Distinguished Majors Daniel Yonas and Meghan Ellwood presented their honors theses at the L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference in Charlottesville, VA!

Dan gave a talk titled "Do Second Thoughts Matter? Children's Moral Evaluations of Characters with Conflicted Thoughts"dan presentation

Meghan presented her poster titled "Shall We Pretend? Parents Ask More Questions and Take on Different Roles During Pretend Versus Real Interactions with Children"

meghan presentation

Dr. Lillard attended the American Montessori Society Conference in Denver. She spoke as a Keynote Speaker at the Teacher Trainer preconference on March 21st, and had a presentation and book sigining on the other days.

The 2017 study by graduate student Jess Taggart, former laboratory coordinator MJ Heise, and Dr. Lillardshowing that children prefer to do actual activities rather than their pretend counterparts has been picked up by more media outlets:

Dr. Lillard spoke in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Dr. Lillard spoke at the Chesterfield Montessori School in St. Louis, Missouri.

The longitudinal Montessori study conducted by Megan J. Heise, Eve Richey, Xin Tong, Alyssa Hart, Paige Bray, and Dr. Lillard, published last October, was the most viewed article of 2017 in Frontiers of Psychology! 

More media outlets have mentioned this study in 2018:

2017

Dr. Lillard spoke at the Forest Bluff School north of Chicago.

Dr. Lillard was interviewed by Bob Greenberg from The Brainwaves Video Anthology. View her talk about Montessori education below! You can also click here to hear her talk about how her fifth-grade teacher made a difference in her education.

Dr. Lillard spoke at two locations in the Washington DC area -the Crossway Montessori in Kensington, Maryland, and the AMI Training Center at Loyola University.

Dr. Lillard spoke as a Keynote Speaker at the AMI-China Conference in Hangzhou.

A longitudinal Montessori study conducted by Megan J. Heise, Eve Richey, Xin Tong, Alyssa Hart, Paige Bray, and Dr. Lillard, Montessori elevates and equalizes child outcomes: A longitudinal study, is now on Frontiers in Psychology
After this article was published, the study got picked up by numerous media outlets:

Dr. Lillard was awarded grants from the LEGO Foundation and the Wildflower Foundation, respectively.

Graduate student Jessica Taggart and Dr. Lillard were awarded a grant from the American Montessori Society to study how pretend and real activities affect children in Montessori classrooms! Read more about their research on Our Research page.

Dr. Lillard's article Why do the children (pretend) play? is now in press in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Former student Lili Ma, now a professor at Ryerson University, and Dr. Lillard published a new article examining how two-year-olds' interpretation of behavioral cues in pretend play. You can read the article here.

Dr. Lillard was a Keynote Speaker at the 28th International Montessori Congress in Prague!

Graduate student Jess Taggart, laboratory coordinator MJ Heise, and Dr. Lillard found that children prefer to do actual activities rather than their pretend counterparts. Read about their findings in Developmental Science
After this article was published, the study got picked up by media outlets:

Former graduate student Rebecca Dore and Dr. Lillard have recently published findings on White children's pain perception of Black and White children. By age 5, White American children attributed lower value possessions to Blacks than Whites, indicating a recognition of racial group differences in economic hardship. Read the full article in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Dr. Lillard was invited to speak as a Keynote Speaker at at Montessori Asia Conference in Hong Kong!

dr. lillard

Distinguished Majors Sky Cardwell, Caroline Chamberlain, and Julia Rauen presented their honors thesis posters at the L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference in Charlottesville, VA!

Sky presented "Pretend Play as a Potential Regulator of Emotion in Young Children"

sky presentation

Caroline presented "The Impact of Prosocial Media on Children's Prosocial Behavior and Empathy"

caroline presentation

Julia presented "Children's Preferences for Pretend and Real Activities and Roles"

julia presentation

Graduate students Jessica Taggart and Sierra Eisen, and lab coordinator MJ Heise presented research posters at the Society for Research in Child Development in Austin, TX.

2016

Former graduate students Rebecca Dore and Eric Smith have published findings illustrating that children adopt the traits of a character that they have read about in a story.

Graduate student Sierra Eisen and lab coordinator MJ Heise presented research projects at the Society for Research in Child Development's Technology and Media in Children's Development Meeting in Irvine, CA.

Media mention: "How creative learning could benefit Southeast Asia's children." Southeast Asia Globe, October 3, 2016

Dr. Lillard was a Keynote Speaker at the Hsin Yi Early Childhood Conference in Taipei, Taiwan on early childhood education.

The UVA Child Development Labs were recently featured in C'ville Kids! Read the article here.

When do children begin pretending to use bananas as telephones? This game is actually an illustration of a child's ability to separate the meaning of an object from the physical item. Dr. Lillard and colleagues recently published an article on children's understanding of object pretense in the Journal of Cognition and Development. Link to PDF

2015

The Early Development Lab welcomes its new lab coordinator, MJ Heise!

Graduate student Jessica Taggart was accepted as a Fellow to the Lifespan Development, International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE). Learn more about LIFE.

Graduate student Sierra Eisen was awarded a grant from the American Montessori Society to study how children learn from apps compared with hands-on materials. Thanks to all the children and families who have participated in her research!

Congratulations to Rebecca Dore, who successfully defended her dissertation this week! This fall, Rebecca will be beginning an Institute for Education Sciences post-doctoral position in the lab of Roberta Golinkoff at the University of Delaware. Thanks to all the families who participated in her research!

2014

Media mention: "This Is When Racial Bias Begins To Impact A Child's Empathy For Pain, Study Suggests." Huffington Post, March 4, 2014

2013

Media mention: "If you are reading this article, your kid probably doesn't need preschool." Slate, January 16, 2013.

2012

Media mention: "Pretend play may not drive child development as much as once thought." APA Monitor, December 2012.