From the article:
Maria Montessori might have called the child "an amorphous, splendid being in search of his own proper form," but far more important, in the end, is a different canny insight of hers: Those splendid kids crave order. Montessori isn't magic. It's fine-tuned and detail-driven and tactile, like a workshop for two dozen good-humored but serious young elves.
And Simon, my irrepressible, short-fused man of mischief, calmly rolled out a mat for himself on the floor, took out the "bank," and proceeded to match the number 3,987, which he'd constructed from short boards painted with numbers, to the correct combination of 1,000-unit cubes, 100- and 10-unit rectangles, and single-unit beads.
Last fall, the prestigious Science gave its pages to a well-designed study that found some measurable advantages for the Montessori method. The researchers compared 59 Montessori students with 53 kids who'd tried to get in to a public Montessori school in Wisconsin and lost out in a lottery (a strategy that addressed the methodological concern that families who choose Montessori differ from those who don't). By the end of kindergarten, the Montessori students outscored the others on standardized tests of reading and math, treated each other better on the playground, and "showed more concern for fairness and justice." By the end of elementary school, the test-score gap closed. But the Montessori kids "wrote more creative essays with more complex sentence structures," responded better to social dilemmas, and were more likely to say they felt a sense of community at school.