Natalie Danner, Ph.D.

Montessorian. Teacher Educator. Inclusion Advocate.



My name is Natalie Danner and my work focuses on the education and care of young children with and without disabilities.  I hold a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and am an American Montessori Society-credentialed Montessori early childhood educator.  I believe that Montessori environments, with multi-age classrooms and the opportunity for choice and individualized hands-on learning, offer ideal opportunities for all children to learn.  Through consultation and education, I partner with teachers and leaders to become even better at their most important craft.

As the Early Childhood Content Specialist on the Illinois Early Learning Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I create online early childhood content (blogs, podcasts, and tip sheets) to share evidence-based practices with teachers, caregivers, and families of young children. Prior to Illinois, I worked in early childhood teacher education for five years at the University of Nebraska - Kearney, Western Oregon University, and the University of Connecticut. My experience also includes ten years of teaching and leadership experience in independent and public school settings in New York and Arizona, specializing in the Montessori approach.

My research explores the inclusion of young children with disabilities in preschool classrooms, the development of early childhood special education teacher education standards, and the professional development needs of in-service and pre-service teachers surrounding inclusion.

"We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity."    
- Maria Montessori


Natalie Danner, Ph.D.

Montessori, inclusion, teacher education, early childhood special education