In July 2022, Snyder, LeBoeuf and Lillard published a research paper on the above topic. Their full title is, “‘My Name is Sally Brown and I hate School!’: A retrospective study on school liking among conventional and Montessori Alumni”. Let us dive right into it! School liking is a huge factor that impacts academic success. Not enough research is being done on this, but sadly, not much action is being taken to deal with this damning trend. This Snyder et al research is the first known study that examined school liking across the three major school levels of elementary, Middle, and high school. This is also the first study in which school liking by conventional school and Montessori school alumni is compared. This article is another excursion of ours, as we promised to do previously, into the research work  of Angeline S. Lillard.

Let us start with the end, namely the (key) findings: The data showed that Montessori alumni liked school significantly more than students of conventional schools, and that Montessori schools have many of the features that predict higher school liking. It is averred by the study that this might explain the well-known positive academic and well‐being outcomes of Montessori students.


630 Adults, of whom 187 had attended Montessori elementary schools and 436 conventional  schools of all levels - 7 did not specify their school type. The reason for restricting the Montessori group to only the elementary school level, was the size of the sample.


The researchers set out to answer three questions: “First, how much do people recall liking school in each school level? Second, what features of school (as they recall) are associated with higher school liking? Finally, do people who attended Montessori—the most common and enduring alternative school model—recall liking school more or less than people who attended conventional schools?


“ (1) showing how a wide range of school features predict recalled school liking, (2) examining data for all school levels using a single sample of participants, and (3) comparing recalled school liking and its predictors across conventional and Montessori schools.”


There are numerous previous studies of school liking, but they are level specific, for example, only elementary. Snyder et al surveyed the available previous studies and stipulated their key findings. For details you can review their work, we provide the link below. 


Seeing friends was the best part of school for 56% of the conventional sample, but 38% for the Montessori sample.  25% Of the Montessori sample (compared to 15.1% for conventional) regarded the social milieu as what they liked least about school. Montessori students were also significantly more likely than conventional participants to choose “learning” as what they liked most about school, even after they left Montessori school. Furthermore, interest in schoolwork was consistently higher across time for the Montessori sample.


Our children spend about 12 years of their lives in school. An overwhelming majority of students of conventional schools dislike school (by the assessment of teachers associated with youmemontessori). How is this possible? How is this sustainable? Society has lost the plot. No amount of tinkering can make any real change. The reason is simple, conventional education is meant to churn out automatons that can do as they are told. Its purpose is to crush the student’s spirit, individuality, creativity and genuine critical thinking. It is not meant to raise our children to the highest level of appreciation of and engagement with human culture, as is the purpose of Montessori pedagogy. Montessori is the answer. LINK TO THE FULL STUDY: