Date of Award



© 2021 Heather Teems

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Heather Wilmot

Second Advisor

Darren Akerman

Third Advisor

Denisse Santos


This mixed-method exploratory case study investigates the research question: To what extent do pre-K through eighth-grade public Montessori school teachers perceive that their professional knowledge and abilities, experiences, and resources impact their capacity to integrate arts into their general classroom curriculum? Public Montessori teachers from five public-choice Montessori schools in a school district of the suburban and urban areas of southeastern South Carolina were invited to participate. The teachers in these public Montessori schools have varied levels of education and professional development experience with the arts in education. Some participants were general education teachers prior to becoming Montessori teachers due to the transition of traditional program elementary schools to Montessori schools. Survey questions addressed themes and subthemes related to integrating the arts with core curriculum subjects including math, history, science, English language arts, and social justice and humanities. The subthemes were also designed to delineate perceptions of experience or knowledge with visual arts, music, dance, poetry, drama, and theater. Data were gathered from the participant responses and a district program description, including professional development offerings. To analyze the data, the research question themes were coded by the field annotations: abilities, knowledge, resources, benefits, and barriers. The coding involved identifying patterns and similarities in the teachers’ responses of their perceptions related to arts integration in their Montessori classrooms. The overall results indicated the teacher participants believe that students who exhibit excess energy would benefit from an increase in movement, collaboration, and music, as well as a significant increase in exposure to the arts. Largely, the teachers indicated feeling uncertain about integrating the arts into their Montessori classrooms due to barriers such as lack of resources, time, and professional development experience. Therefore, it is recommended that educational leaders create professional development opportunities through collaboration with the arts team at each school, the community arts professionals, and the district administration.


Ed.D. Dissertation