Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Irene Bornhorst


Montessori Early Childhood, Montessori Elementary Education


Abstract The purpose of this action research project was to determine if there would be improved development of empathy in elementary students as a result of involvement in the Toddler Mentor Program. The study took place in a 6-9 year Montessori Elementary Classroom. There were eight participants, which were first and second year students in the classroom. The age range was 6-7 years old. The elementary students spent twenty minutes as a mentor in the Toddler classroom once a week. Data was collected by teacher observation pre, during and post project in three different environments, the elementary classroom, the toddler classroom and recess. The students were interviewed following all visits of the toddler classroom and also participated in group discussions. The results showed an increase in empathetic behaviors over the time as a whole group. Individually, the girls displayed consistent empathy in the toddler classroom and the boys showed the most improvement over time. In conclusion, the Toddler Mentor Program provided the students the opportunity to focus on social-emotional skills such as being helpful, kind, respectful, and acknowledging other’s feelings. In order to identify long-term effects outside the classroom more research is recommended.