Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Lynn Cohen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Phyllis Povell, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Heather Parrott, Ph.D.


BIRTH TO THREE LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: INFLUENCES OF AMBIENT LANGUAGE IN THE MONTESSORI SETTING Claudine Campanelli Long Island University, New York, 2021 Dissertation Chair: Lynn Cohen, PhD There is an expanse of literature looking at various topics supporting Montessori education, especially in preschool; however, there is a lack of research in infant and toddler Montessori classrooms. Most of the empirical data regarding language acquisition has focused on the child’s acquisition of vocabulary through direct instruction, rather than the learning capability from overhearing a third party in a naturalistic setting. The purpose of this intervention study was to add to the limited empirical research on language acquisition in infant and toddler Montessori environments. More specifically, the intervention assessed if infants and toddlers could indirectly acquire new vocabulary through the Absorbent Mind from teachers and peers’ ambient dialogue during the Montessori three-period lesson. The research utilized a descriptive, correlational pre-and-post quasi-experimental design to assess and analyze vocabulary and ambient language. Data collection occurred in three Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and American Montessori Society (AMS) infant and toddler mixed-aged environments throughout New York State and Maryland. The Language Environmental Analysis (LENA) system was used to analyze audio recordings. Transcriptions of audio recordings quantified vocabulary acquisition and ambient language. Paired t-tests and ANCOVA were used to analyze children’s acquired vocabulary. A fidelity scale analyzed the extent to which Montessori trained teachers adhered to the three-period lesson intervention. The findings provide opportunities to improve infant and toddler teachers' classroom practice related to language acquisition. Suggestions were offered for early childhood teacher preparation programs.