Recommended Reading

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”   – Maya Angelou

The Montessori approach is not a series of tips for happy parenting or a curriculum to teach kids reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.  It is a philosophy of life based on more than a century of observing, understanding, and supporting human development.  In Montessori, “learning” is a joyful, spontaneous and unavoidable side-effect of development, while education refers to “a natural process carried out by the child that is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

To truly understand Montessori, it’s essential to read, read, read and observe, observe, observe.  While I love and treasure Dr. Montessori’s words, I find that most of her books are a bit overwhelming for many parents who are taking their first steps into the approach.  Luckily, Montessori parents and educators have written great books that provide a clear explanation of how and why Montessori works.  Start with a couple of these books and then by all means dive into one of Dr. Montessori’s texts (my favorites for parents are included below).

By Parents, For Parents

Montessori Madness: A Parent-to-Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler

Trevor is a Montessori parent and writes in a friendly and approachable manner about the main aspects of Montessori and how they help children reach their potential.  Read an excerpt here!

Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents by Maren and Dana Schmidt

Maren and Dana are a mother-daughter team of Montessori teachers whose goal is to help parents understand Montessori and learn what to look for in a quality school.  Read an excerpt here!

How to Raise an Amazing Child, the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin

Tim is the president of the Montessori Foundation, a non-profit organization that fosters awareness of the Montessori approach.  The book has beautiful pictures and focuses on home-based activities for children ages 0-6.

Montessori From the Start: The Child at Home from Birth to Age Three by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen

This is another mother-daughter team that tackles the important early years of childhood development.  The book can seem a bit overwhelming at times, especially to a parent of a newborn looking for simple information, but they do a good job of explaining the child’s developmental stages and needs.

Understanding the Human Being by Dr. Silvana Montanaro

Dr. Montanaro is the Director of Training for the 0-3 (Assistants to Infancy) AMI Montessori training courses in several countries.  She has dedicated her life to educating parents about the importance of the first three years of life.  Her book offers a fascinating look into the psyche of the infant and provides parents with useful information to support their baby’s development from birth.

At Home with Montessori by Patricia Oriti

A concise but powerful book that helps parents apply Montessori concepts in the home.  This book is recommended reading for parents at some of the top Montessori schools in the country.

Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful by Donna Bryant Goertz

This book explores the transformation of 12 children who enter a Montessori elementary classroom and shows how positive change can be brought about with the right environment.  It provides insight into the importance of Montessori education for the elementary years.

What the Research Says

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Dr. Angeline Lillard

Dr. Lillard explains each principle of the Montessori approach and outlines current research studies that corroborate the effectiveness of the Method.  This book is not touchy-feely; it was written by an academic and reads like a textbook.  I absolutely LOVE it and feel it offers fascinating insight into the brilliant mind of Dr. Montessori, but if you’re looking for fun activities to do with your kids at home, this is NOT the book for you.  Read an excerpt here!

Dr. Montessori’s Books

The Absorbent Mind

This is Dr. Montessori’s chef d’ouvre, a powerful tome that synthesizes a lifetime of discoveries.  I’ve read it probably seven times, but I could read it seven hundred more and still find new layers of wisdom and insight.  This book is like the finest of chocolate truffles, best enjoyed by taking one little bite at a time and savoring its complexity.

The Child In the Family

This is a great book that discusses the parents’ role in the child’s development, and the impact of our parenting decisions.  It’s easier to assimilate than The Absorbent Mind, yet it’s also written in the beautiful and inspiring prose that all of Dr. Montessori’s books share.

Do you have a favorite Montessori book?  Share it in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Recommended Reading

  1. Posotive Discipline by Jane Nelson. It’s not exactly Montessori but I learned about it in my assistant teacher training. There are several more specific editions as well. I’m currently reading birth to three. It helps remind me of how I need to behave to help my daughter best.

  2. I admire and appreciate your much needed work, and I thank you for it! Parents might like lovely little book is “At Home With Montessori” by Patricia Oriti. Parents at Austin Montessori School find this book a great help. Donna Bryant Goertz, school founder and director emrita, author of “Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful.”

  3. I admire and appreciate your much needed work, and I thank you for it! A lovely little book parents might also find informative and inspiring is “At Home With Montessori” by Patricia Oriti. Parents at Austin Montessori School find this book a great help. Donna Bryant Goertz, school founder and director emerita, author of “Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful.”

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