If you're Montessori-curious, these books are for you.
So you've decided you are ready to buckle up and learn about the Montessori method, but where do you start? It's likely that if your child is attending a Montessori school, the teachers and staff they are being taught by are trained by either AMI (Association Montessori International) or AMS (American Montessori Society), both of which require years of studying to put into practice Dr. Maria Montessori's work. But for the everyday parent or caregiver, we're living in a time where the resources to self-teach your way through almost anything are endless - and overwhelming!
Luckily, there are some good books out there and we've compiled a list to make it easy to start. Dr. Montessori wrote dozens of books in her years of studying child development, and since her last book was published in the early 1940's, many others have continued to learn and write about her method.
Check out these six books that parents, grandparents, caregivers, and just about anyone who spends time with children, can use to learn more about the Montessori method.
Montessori teacher and blogger, Simone Davies, had an instant smash hit with The Montessori Toddler when she released it in 2019. It's easy to see why. This book is full of practical ideas for living with a toddler, and has step-by-step ways to create daily routines that work for the whole family. According to Publishers Weekly, "This graceful guide to parenting toddlers within the Montessori educational philosophy teaches adults with the same spirit of gentleness, presenting a coherent, attractive system while simultaneously breaking its instruction down into small, understandable chunks that seem reasonable to master." Davies recently released The Montessori Baby, which is destined to become another hit!
Although this book is not marketed as a Montessori book, the philosophy and language used by the author makes it a great read. The authors provide a clear and understandable explanation of how a child's brain is wired and how it matures over the years.The Whole-Brain Child gives age-appropriate strategies for day-to-day struggles and shows ways to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development in children beginning in toddlerhood.
A large part of the Montessori teaching programs you can find all over the world is training the teachers how to speak and interact with the children in their classroom. Each caregiver brings their own way of engaging with children, but there are some tips that can be helpful. This review of How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by John Gottman, award winning speaker, author and professor, really says it all: "Faber and King have done the impossible! This guide to how to talk so little kids will listen is BRILLIANT. Every parent needs to read this book because it teaches skills that are solidly based on research. The book is magnificent."
This book is hot off the press and already getting tons of positive feedback. The author, Tara Greaney, has more than 40 years' experience in early childhood education, most of which was spent working in or directing Montessori schools. Her book is full of simple and engaging techniques to use the Montessori method at home. This book focuses mostly on ages birth to three, where Greaney has provided environmental recommendations, step-by-step activities, and parenting tips for each age.
Claiming to be "the single best book for learning about the Montessori method" out there, Montessori: A Modern Approach has been popular for those wanting to learn more about the method for over 40 years now. Although it was written in 1975, Paula Polk Lillard's book is still nearly perfect today. Lillard's writing can also be useful for a caregiver who is sending their child to a Montessori school and wants to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on inside the classroom. Her work is read by most teachers being trained in the method, and will likely continue to be used for many years to come.
The Absorbent Mind
It is impossible to create a list of Montessori parenting books without including one by Dr. Maria Montessori herself. The Absorbent Mind is the cornerstone to the Montessori method of teaching and can only be described as a masterpiece in early childhood education writing. This is not a quick pool-side read, but rather lends itself to careful reading and dissecting as you go through the chapters. According to The New York Times Book Review, "This book deserves careful reading, for the author's views are as relevant (and revolutionary) now as when they were first proposed."
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