Project Director

Womack, Bethany

Department Examiner

Murillo, Krysta


Dept. of Education


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has drastically changed day-to-day functioning in American culture and the outlook of many essential institutions, specifically the education system. A halt in learning for most American school children in the spring semester of 2020, as well as necessary adaptation of the day-to-day functions of educational facilities in the fall has altered the learning environment for children and educators like never before. Research on historical disruptions in education, such as natural disasters and public health crises, provide a partial framework for federal approaches to the modern-day pandemic and their potential consequences. Modern technology has provided an array of alternatives to traditional learning and family engagement, yet barriers still exist, especially in early childhood settings. Specifically in classrooms that rely on sensorial and manipulative-based learning, historically utilized in the Montessori method, online learning is simply no substitute to the potentials of in-person instruction. The purpose of this study is to investigate the evolvement of the classroom environment in response to the pandemic through the eyes of one small Montessori school and draw conclusions on how these shifts are impacting the entire wellbeing of school children, their educators and beyond. Using a qualitative thematic analysis framework and data gathered from multiple interviews conducted with teachers and faculty, my project will develop and offer overarching axial themes that may be applicable to a larger body of modern educators.


I cannot express enough my gratitude to my thesis committee, Dr. Bethany Womack and Dr. Krysta Murillo, for helping me through the research process. Without your guidance, knowledge and constant support, this project would not have been possible. Additionally, I would like to thank my colleagues for their involvement throughout the evolution of the project and for being constant supporters in my life; academically, professionally, and beyond. Finally, my completion of this project could not have been achieved without the loving support of my friends and family. I am immensely grateful for your advocacy and encouragement. My heartfelt thanks to you all!


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Internet in education; Montessori method of education


Coronavirus; early childhood education; Maria Montessori; Montessori method; online learning; shifts in education


Early Childhood Education

Document Type



[i], 39 leaves