The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how Montessori early childhood teachers approach teaching about race and racial bias in their classrooms. Twenty-four Montessori early childhood teachers participated in an open-ended survey, and five teachers of those 24 participated in a data-informed online semi-structured interview. The interviewees received an infographic with narrative and graphics in which themes of the survey were detailed, a form of graphic elicitation. Surveys and interviews were coded and analyzed for themes. Themes were verified through independent coding by an independent analyst. Several themes that emerged from the surveys and interviews indicated that 1) Montessori early childhood teachers generally hold a race neutral view of early childhood, 2) Most Montessori early childhood teachers believe that young children do not have bias, 3) Most Montessori early childhood teachers believe that teaching about race and racial bias is implicit in their Montessori training on culture, peace, and respect, 4) Montessori early childhood teachers did not receive explicit instruction from their Montessori training or education programs regarding teaching about race and racial bias, and 5) Most Montessori early childhood teachers supplemented their training with books or developed lessons outside of those obtained in training to teach about race. Reasons for participants’ beliefs around race, racial bias, prejudice, young children, and teaching are discussed, as well as the implications of these outcomes. The results of this study were used to develop recommendations for Montessori teachers, Montessori teacher education programs, and national Montessori organizations. Recommendations for further research suggest that a broad examination of 4 demographics along with data on how Montessori teachers are teaching about race and racial bias may yield pertinent information that could further guide educators and trainers.
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Ripple, T. M. (2018). Montessori as Metonymy: How Montessori Early Childhood Teachers Approach Race in the Classroom [Doctoral dissertation, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/539