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30 review for The Montessori Method Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in 'The Children's Houses' with Additions and Revisions by the Author

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lois Chan-Pedley

    Some thoughts. Warning: words ahead. The gist of the philosophy maintains that a child learns best when he explores the lessons at his own pace. To avoid tiring out a teacher with a class size of more than three, she uses didactic materials not only designed to let the child figure it out on his own (they are self-correcting), but also sparks a child’s interest based on his personal stage of development: sandpaper cutouts to stimulate tactile exploration, coloured counting sticks for visual inter Some thoughts. Warning: words ahead. The gist of the philosophy maintains that a child learns best when he explores the lessons at his own pace. To avoid tiring out a teacher with a class size of more than three, she uses didactic materials not only designed to let the child figure it out on his own (they are self-correcting), but also sparks a child’s interest based on his personal stage of development: sandpaper cutouts to stimulate tactile exploration, coloured counting sticks for visual interest, insets and frames that only fit together a certain way. She maintains that a teacher (renamed a “directress” in her schools) should spend most of her energy observing the children, and should only intervene if a child is asking for her or when the children are behaving in non-constructive ways. To her, discipline is achieved when a child slowly learns the self-satisfaction of doing self-discipline-y things, like practising being still, being careful, and colouring within the lines. Obedience through timidity and docility is not prized, but obedience through self-discipline is. Her school system is surprisingly strict. She forbids her Montessori schools to deviate, though in her paper she mentions her pupils have created new versions of her didactic materials as well, so I’m not sure to what extent one is allowed to improve (or “improve”) upon her methods before she kicks them out. The chief criticisms from William Kilpatrick, a contemporary progressive teacher from the US, are: Montessori fails to give any focus on group work, and that imaginative play is discouraged. Children in her schools are typically working solo, or perhaps working in parallel in groups, but not in collaboration with each other. There is also little to no story time and dramatization is non-existent. It seems Montessori, a scientist herself, designed a school to churn out little scientists and engineers (if pragmatism and lack of imagination are the hallmarks of your run-of-the-mill nerds and geers) but few artists. He also criticises her observational methods and basically disagrees with her data, asserting that children need more stimulation than is provided by the Montessori method, even though Montessori claims to base her exercises and lessons on observing what children need. I can’t speak to this because I haven’t seen the data, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a bit biased for the particular situation in pre-Mussolini Rome. I haven’t read much about what others think of Montessori. The gist-of-the-gist is that Montessori wants to help children develop into awesome adult humans, whereas the traditional method (and other methods) seems to be quite concerned with children “knowing things.” Even Kilpatrick says: “She says the ‘aim is not that the child shall know colors, forms, and the different qualities of objects.’ We say that the aim is exactly that he may know such things, and we don’t care about his getting any sense training outside of this.” (276) I also have a few questions in my head. What is liberty? She stresses that liberty is not to be confused with mindless spontaneity — liberty is only useful within a prepared environment. Somehow she has come to the conclusion that certain activities are useful, and others are not. She has created her didactic materials in accordance: frames with buttons and ribbons to be laced up and undone, mimicking their clothing, little basins for washing hands and dishes, sticks and blocks coloured and marked for teaching arithmetic. I think her designs are clever, but according to Kilpatrick, playing with them (i.e. not using them for their intended purposes) is “strictly forbidden.” (275) Montessori seems to have a pretty narrow idea of “usefulness.” So if her idea of liberty is restricted to the realm of what she thinks is useful, that’s a pretty narrow field of liberty indeed. Also, what is useful and, really, healthy for a child in one culture might be radically different from another, or even vary from child to child. Many cats enjoy exploring outdoors and hunting their own food — liberty! — but most cats in the city will benefit from being indoors-only due to stupid drivers and so on. She writes of behaviours which are either good or evil and that language really bothers me. My belief is that children various needs at various times; they are all valid, all universal. There is no use to maintaining a concrete list of these, just as there is no use to create a “universal” method of education — what works for this child might not work for another. It could be that some are more common than others, and at some level, some needs are more universal: access to food and clean water, safety, etc.. But maybe I’m now splitting hairs and it doesn’t really matter to the education of the majority of children. As an aside: can we speak of a child’s “essence” or “spirit” without going into woo-woo language having to do with supernatural things? Does science understand talent and passion enough? A lot of it might just be the text being outdated; she frequently refers to “idiots” and “deficients” versus “normal” children, which will raise some eyebrows in today’s language. However, I take issue when she equates moving quietly, gracefully with moving correctly. I guess one could argue that even if one chooses to make noise and run about wildly, she should do so with intent and should learn the quiet and graceful way, rather than being noisy and wild because it is the only way she knows. At one point she notes that learning plane geometry is OK for children but 3D stuff is too advanced, and that we see stuff in 2D more often than in 3D. (189) I wonder whether this is because 2D is taught first, though. It’s unclear whether we would be more spatially aware if we learned 3D things at a younger age. Lastly, I take issue with her suggestion to indoctrinate children in religion at this age (K-3). No doubt it is the ideal time to do so. But her belief that unreligious folk are immoral and evil obviously doesn’t resonate with me. I’d like to think most schools today are secular. But I’m not sure. Anyway, some of my favourite quotes: The homes of the poor were scattered among those of the rich and the contrast between these was commonplace in literature up to our own times. Indeed, when I was a child in school, teachers, for the purpose of moral education, frequently resorted to the illustration of the kind princess who sends help to the poor cottage next door, or of the good children from the great house who carry food to the sick woman in the neighbouring attic. – p. 96, on the gentrification of Rome and the need for her Casa de bambino inside the slums Discipline must come through liberty. [...] We do not consider an individual disciplined only when he has been rendered as artificially silent as a mute and as immovable as a paralytic. He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined. – p. 113, on the concept of active discipline The greatest triumph of our educational method should always be this: to bring about the spontaneous progress of the child. – p. 183 Anyone who has watched them setting the table must have passed from one surprise to another. Little four-year-old waiters take the knives and forks and spoons and distribute them to the different places; they carry trays holding as many as five water glasses, and finally they go from table to table, carrying big tureens full of hot soup. Not a mistake is made, not a glass is broken, not a drop of soup is spilled. All during the meal unobtrusive little waiters watch the table assiduously; not a child empties his soup plate without being offered more; if he is ready for the next course a waiter briskly carries off his soup place. Not a child is forced to ask for more soup, or to announce that he has finished. – p. 250, on what is supposed to be a fairly common sight in Montessori school rooms; it’s unclear whether this is an actual description or something that was stretched by a tiiiiiny bit of fiction We often hear it said that a child’s will should be ‘broken’, that the best education for the will of the child is the learn to give it up to the will of adults. Leaving out of the question the injustice which is at the root of every act of tyranny, this idea is irrational because the child cannot give up what he does not possess. We prevent him [...] from forming his own willpower… He never has time or opportunity to test himself, to estimate his own force and his own limitations because he is always interrupted. – p. 257, on the wrong emphasis on obedience rather than development in discipline One teacher quoted proudly the experience she had with a little child who had just learned to write, [...] eager to share this newly found joy, and showed her his work, and then looked up and said in all sincerity, “Do you know how to write?” – p. 271, Anne E. George (a student of Maria Montessori) said on an unnamed directress teaching a child how to write without doing much writing herself

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    My friend who introduced me to Montessori for teaching my son preschool at home actually told me NOT to read Dr. Montessori's books because I wouldn't understand them because of her theories and technical language that she uses. However, I strongly believed that if this was something I wanted to learn to better be able to use her principles in teaching my son preschool at home, then I should read what the originator of the method had to say about it. I am very, VERY impressed with Dr. Montessori My friend who introduced me to Montessori for teaching my son preschool at home actually told me NOT to read Dr. Montessori's books because I wouldn't understand them because of her theories and technical language that she uses. However, I strongly believed that if this was something I wanted to learn to better be able to use her principles in teaching my son preschool at home, then I should read what the originator of the method had to say about it. I am very, VERY impressed with Dr. Montessori as I read of her work with the 'deficient' children and then how she applied what she did with the 'deficients' with 'normal' children. Also remember that she introduced this method for the instructing of 'normal' children a hundred years ago, so don't be turned off by what would today be considered politically incorrect terms. Dr. Montessori's methods and theories make perfect sense to me as the only way young children (ages 2-6) should learn the basics (colors, shapes, letters, phonic reading, writing, mathmatics, etc) - and I question the continued methods enforced in public schooling and federally-funded preschool programs, especially when a far superior method is available and has years and years of proof that it works.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ✨ kathryn ✨

    So insightful, though a little harder to digest than Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook. So insightful, though a little harder to digest than Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sunshine

    The beginning and end tell an incredible philosophy, beneficial to all, with or without children three through seven-ish. Since this is a library book and highlighting would have proved wasteful for future reference—I have notes..... chapter 1 She discusses the mechanical training of teachers and compares it to teaching a child to read. A child can read and write all the words in his curriculum book, but that doesn’t mean just because he can read Shakespeare he can understand the thoughts of Shake The beginning and end tell an incredible philosophy, beneficial to all, with or without children three through seven-ish. Since this is a library book and highlighting would have proved wasteful for future reference—I have notes..... chapter 1 She discusses the mechanical training of teachers and compares it to teaching a child to read. A child can read and write all the words in his curriculum book, but that doesn’t mean just because he can read Shakespeare he can understand the thoughts of Shakespeare. She advocates igniting a passion in teachers like unto the scientist in the field who doesn’t notice his mist wet clothes or sunburned skin or hunger pains as he lays absolutely still observing an ant colony—full of life and spirit in his field of study. She goes on speaking of Christ’s love for children and his admonition that we all be like the little ones. “Now let us picture among those to whom these words were spoken, an ardent, worshipping soul, who takes them into his heart. With a mixture of respect and love, of sacred curiosity and of a desire to achieve this spiritual greatness, he sets himself to observe every manifestation of this little child. Even such an observer place in a classroom filled with little children will not be the new educator whom we wish to form. But let us seek to implant in the soul the self-sacrificing spirit of the scientist with the reverent love of the disciple of Christ, and we shall have prepared the spirit of the teacher. From the child itself he will learn how to perfect himself as an educator” (page 33). Montessori compares school children forced to their desks as butterflies are pinned, lifeless with wings spread— “spreading the useless wings of barren and meaningless knowledge which they have required” she continues with the counter that schools “must permit the free, natural manifestations of the child” page 33). She continues her attack on the desk by relating the physical damage of that done to a miner (essentially lifeless slaves she argues) the same as the physical damage done to a students spine (thus also a slave). “Often the education of children consists in pouring into their intelligence the intellectual content of school programmes. And often these programmes have been compiled in the official department of education, and their use is imposed by law upon the teacher and the child. Ah, before such dense and willful disregard of the life which is growing within these children, we should hide our heads in shame and cover our guilty faces with our hands! Sergi says truly: ‘today an urgent need imposes itself upon society: the reconstruction of methods in education and instruction, and he who fights for this cause, fights for human regeneration’” (page 41). ___________ I’m not sure where because I was out and about but somewhere before page 78 she spoke of how common schools are planned by people so far removed from the school (like politicians today!) that they don’t get anything right because they have no hands on observation and experience. chapter 4 Chairs should be small and movable, tables should be light and moveable. Tables should be different sizes—providing for group seating and individual seating. The kids should be allowed to move the tables and chairs where they want them. This provides liberty. Children also will learn to control their bodies to avoid knocking tables and chairs over through trial and error. Without this opportunity (like when desks are nailed to the floor) children lose this opportunity to learn how to control their body. “In the old method, the proof of discipline attained lay in a fact entirely contrary to this; that is, in the immobility and silence of the child himself. Immobility and silence which hindered the child from learning to move with grace and with discernment, and left him so ingrained, that, when he found himself in an environment, and left him so untrained, that, when he found himself in an environment where the benches and chairs were not nailed to the floor, he was not able to move about without overturning the lighter pieces of furniture. In the Children’s Houses the child will not only learn to move gracefully and properly, but will come to understand the reason for such deportment. The ability to move which he acquires here will be of use to him all his life. While he is still a child, he becomes capable of conducting himself correctly, and yet, with perfect freedom” (page 77). chapter 5 discipline “Discipline must come through liberty” and “liberty is activity” (page 78). Discipline in circumstances that harm others or go against basic manners. Isolated table in corner method of discipline offering lesson through observing the rest of class having a nice time. Child still has favorite objects and toys and is given a hello and hug from montessori before she goes to observe the rest of the students. Discipline should create independence thus creating individuality. Ill-placed discipline, and stifling of independent acts alters the true individual nature of person. “The environment acts more strongly upon the individual life the less fixed and strong this individual life may be” (page 91). , ,, 6,7,8,9 nothing of consequence chapter 10 “It is true that man has created enjoyments in social life and has brought about a vigorous human love in community life. But nevertheless he still belongs to nature, and, especially when he is a child, he must needs draw from it the forces necessary to the development of the body and of the spirit” (page 123). “It has been understood...that the best means of invigorating the child is to immerse him in nature” (page 123). chapter 11 plant a garden chapter 12 “the aim of education is to develop the energies” (page 134). chapter 13 “a man is not what he is because of the teachers he has had, but because of what he has done” (page 136). importance of self-education and self-discovery chapter I don’t know and I’m hurrying because it was due at the library 5 days ago and I can’t renew because somebody has it on hold: educate senses. Senses harder to teach as adult...professional knowledge comes easier when senses are well developed. “The lower classes...fondness for watching sensual acts of adults...represent the enjoyment of those unfortunate ones whose intellectual pleasures are few and whose senses are blunted and dulled. Such pleasures kill the man within the individual, and call to life the beast” (page 169). sense education ideas: *blindfold child and have feel different fabrics *blindfold child and have them distinguish between two different weighted circles, forming piles on each end of table of equal weights *coins *beans, peas *shapes *fill in outlined figures...watch as pink tree becomes brown and green tree *free clay play do not correct child, after learning exercise (ie this is the circle. this is the square. which is the circle?) if they don’t get it right move on and try again next time without correction….Correction leads to negative association with learning learn letters by tracing sandpaper letters on smooth surface….when they run off the sandpaper they can easily tell by tactile senses--trains visual, tactile, and muscular “create a calm and ordered environment...full of beautiful and wonderful surprises” (spontaneous self-learning) (page 213). writing after the regularity of the parallel lines which fill in the geometric figures the recognition with closed eyes of the sandpaper letters the security and readiness shown in the composition of words --before intervening and telling the child it is time to write...give the child a week or so with writing utensil to encourage spontaneous writing do not correct writing if poor quality return to tracing sandpaper letters...don’t discourage with corrections “he who prepares himself, and he who perfects himself, both follow the same path (page 215). reading game: have objects out with corresponding word written on card...place card by object variation: toys and words mixed up in baggy--pull word, find toy, play with toy “I watched them, seeking to understand the secret of these souls, of whose greatness I had been so ignorant! As I stood in meditation among the eager children, the discovery that it was knowledge they loved, and not the silly game filled me with wonder and made me think of the greatness of the human soul!” (page 220). “Security in reading is, however, arrived at much more slowly than perfection in writing. In the greater majority of cases the child who writes beautifully, still reads rather poorly. Not all children of the same age are at the same point in this matter of reading and writing. We not only do not force a child, but we do not even invite him, or in any way attempt to coax him to do that which he does not wish to do. So it sometimes happens that certain children, not having spontaneously presented themselves for these lessons, are left in peace, and do not know how to read or write” (page 221). “between knowing how to read the words, and how to read the sense, of a book there lies the same distance that exists between knowing how to pronounce a word and how to make a speech. I, therefore, stopped the reading from nooks and waited” (page 222). write sentences and questions on board to have read instead of speaking “thus began between me and them a communication by means of written language,a thing which interested the children intensely” (page 223). “They are the earnest of a humanity grown in the cult of beauty_the infancy of an all-conquering humanity since they are intelligent and patient observers of their environment, and possess in the form of intellectual liberty the power of spontaneous reasoning. For such children, we should found an elementary school worthy to receive them and to guide them further along the path of life and civilization, a school loyal to the same educational principles of respect for the freedom of the child and for his spontaneous manifestations-principles which shall form the personality of these little men” (page 225). “The teacher moves quietly about, goes to any child who calls her, supervising operations in such a way that anyone who needs her finds her at his elbow, and whoever does not need her is not reminded of her existence” (page 250). school age 3-7 “It is not to be obtained by words; no man learns self-discipline ‘through hearing another man speak.’ The phenomenon of discipline needs as preparation a series of complete actions, such as are presupposed in the genuine application of a really educative method. Discipline is reached always by indirect means. The end is obtained, not by attacking the mistake and fighting it, but by developing activity in spontaneous work... Such is the work which sets the personality in order and opens wide before it infinite possibilities of growth” (page 253). “These jugglers would admire us infinitely, hardly able to believe their eyes, as they observed our world, so full of beauty and activity, so well regulated, so peaceful, so kindly, but all so much slower than theirs” (page 259).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    In very good ways this reads as a scientific report as much as a philosophical treatise on children's education - debating with prior theories, presenting methods, and detailing findings, while openly pointing at areas still to research and where her results seem inconclusive or partial. This is also scientific in nature as she is advocating for and demonstrating an observational experimental approach to early education, an evidence-based education. For educators, this means resisting the form of In very good ways this reads as a scientific report as much as a philosophical treatise on children's education - debating with prior theories, presenting methods, and detailing findings, while openly pointing at areas still to research and where her results seem inconclusive or partial. This is also scientific in nature as she is advocating for and demonstrating an observational experimental approach to early education, an evidence-based education. For educators, this means resisting the form of schooling as obedient collective arbitrary tasks to implant factual knowledge, instead acting as silent attentive observers of each child's development to support and introduce new exercises for self-formation when each individual is ready. And also for children, this experimenting approach means seeing kids as little scientists who spend the days and years building mental models and skills to seek to understand the world (both physically, intellectually, and socially/culturally). Reduction of skills to isolated motor/visual/intellectual exercises for practice and repeated self-verification of mastery by the kids themselves builds these skills of self-exploration and self-formation. There are two great philosophies embedded throughout this book. The first is that of "discipline through activity", that respectful disciplined behavior in kids can ultimately only come from self-control/self-will by the individual. If school is to teach "right from wrong, good from evil", it is vitally important for society that the message be that useful, directed activity is good, rather than silent obedient immobility. The second view of humanity repeated throughout is a powerful alternate view of what community and communalized society require: schools, and specifically the tenement-house situated "Children's Houses" her study is focused on, involve community taking over parts of the family/maternal roles. But nonetheless the goal of schooling must be to produce complex varied individuals who have experienced a broad range of challenges and developed personal (self-formed) skills of adapting to all the changes of childhood, not a factory producing identical rational parts for society. "The perfection of collectivity cannot be that material and brutal solidarity that comes from mechanical organization alone." It is really pleasantly surprising (and somewhat discouraging) to me how much of this material still rings true 100 years later, both in the positive and concrete elements and materials of her approach and in the critiques of prior educational fashion. She sarcastically asks at one point whether the point of school is to produce obedient-to-authority students or self-controlled curious adults, and I think she'd be disappointed to learn we were still focused on the former in most places today.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Allegra S

    As a kid that grew up in the Montessori school system I was really fascinated to read this book. There were a lot of exercise I remember doing and because of my experiences I really agreed with her, and appreciated her philosophy on: 1) giving children the freedom to do what they would like and to learn about something only when they are interested and willing to do it (this applies so much in my everyday life even now) 2) not punishing children for getting answers wrong, it discourages learning 3) As a kid that grew up in the Montessori school system I was really fascinated to read this book. There were a lot of exercise I remember doing and because of my experiences I really agreed with her, and appreciated her philosophy on: 1) giving children the freedom to do what they would like and to learn about something only when they are interested and willing to do it (this applies so much in my everyday life even now) 2) not punishing children for getting answers wrong, it discourages learning 3) encouraging children to learn about the life around them, how to do the laundry, carry hot soup, etc 4) letting youth become the masters of their own lives by farming, gardening, doing artisan work, etc This book really shows how her method teaches children to become self-reliant adults and how it is much better suited to equip people with life skills when compared to mainstream education. I would have liked to read more about her school ideas for youth. The chapter about what children should eat was quite funny because it was so dated and a lot of that nutritional information was bizarre! Overall, great read if you are interested in learning more about her philosophies.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edward Tse

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Maria Montessori is an anomaly in the educational pedagogy field, she is a woman in a field dominated by male scientists studying narrow topics with scientific rigour. Maria's method has been very human spending over 10 years perfecting her technique in Rome, Italy before writing the book. It is also inspired by the contemporary literature of the time (early 1900s) coupled with many many hours of practical experience in the classroom of "children's houses". Her book makes some reference to the p Maria Montessori is an anomaly in the educational pedagogy field, she is a woman in a field dominated by male scientists studying narrow topics with scientific rigour. Maria's method has been very human spending over 10 years perfecting her technique in Rome, Italy before writing the book. It is also inspired by the contemporary literature of the time (early 1900s) coupled with many many hours of practical experience in the classroom of "children's houses". Her book makes some reference to the pedagogical research of others but really provides a comprehensive understand of how to run a children's house from how the kids should dress and be checked in the morning, to what they should eat, and finally how they should learn language. There is a focus on orderly conduct and self reflection. Children are asked to keep their clothes and hair clean. They are asked to rearrange desks in a particular fashion each day, they are also asked to put their toys away. Wooden toys are arranged in a linear order to reinforce if one piece is missing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    The beginning was so dry and dated I almost didn't continue but the core principles are still radical today and I enjoyed the details on furnishings, didactic materials and learning methods.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Inspired, inspiring, careful and visionary. Also outdated, peculiar, quaint and psudoscientific! I feel Montessori's particular voice comes through so clearly in this volume-- her insights into children's fascination, her sharp scientist's mind, her fanciful digressions. From the introduction: xxxii: "Let me be concrete. Interesting and valuable as the didactic apparatus assembled and invented by Montessori is, there should be nothing sacrosanct about it." xxxiii "The point is that the standard a Inspired, inspiring, careful and visionary. Also outdated, peculiar, quaint and psudoscientific! I feel Montessori's particular voice comes through so clearly in this volume-- her insights into children's fascination, her sharp scientist's mind, her fanciful digressions. From the introduction: xxxii: "Let me be concrete. Interesting and valuable as the didactic apparatus assembled and invented by Montessori is, there should be nothing sacrosanct about it." xxxiii "The point is that the standard assembly should be viewed only as a starting point, and those revisiting Montessori should imitate her resourcefulness in inventing pedagogical apparatus and in adapting it to the use of individual children." xxxiv If a teacher can discern what a child is trying to do in his informational interaction with the environment, and if that teacher can have on hadn materials relevant to that intention, if he can impose a relevant challenge with which the child can cope, supply a relevant model for imitation, or pose a relevant question that the child can answer, that teacher can call forth the kind of accommodative change that constitutes psychological development or growth. This sort of the thing was apparently the genius of Maria Montessori." 154- In all this progress of modern child education, we have not freed ourselves from the prejudice which denies children spiritual expression and spiritual needs, and makes us consider them only as amiable vegetating bodies to be cared for, kissed, and set in motion"

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leah Macvie

    I think this is a must read book for anyone in education, even adult education. Montessori did something completely new at her time, she experimented with a different type of instruction. I'm all about choice and opportunity. Her method of teaching is a low cost method that teaches children to be self-reliant. I say low cost because low and behold- there is no technology involved. She mentions sand paper letters and yarn lace up cards as part of her curriculum. I think many would argue that this I think this is a must read book for anyone in education, even adult education. Montessori did something completely new at her time, she experimented with a different type of instruction. I'm all about choice and opportunity. Her method of teaching is a low cost method that teaches children to be self-reliant. I say low cost because low and behold- there is no technology involved. She mentions sand paper letters and yarn lace up cards as part of her curriculum. I think many would argue that this type of instruction would yield to a classroom run-a-muck, but in Montessori's experience, and in the many Montessori schools that are out there, this is not true. From a collegiate perspective, we are now faced with two very different types of students. The one's who can't take care of themselves and have their parents calling the college for them, and the student's that's parents don't care about them, probably never complete college because they lack the support. Perhaps the Montessori Method offers parents some options, for the parents that care, at least.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I've been looking into Montessori teaching methods and gave this a look since it's from Montessori herself. I have to admit that I skimmed a bit in places. Some of the information didn't interest me, and some of it is just outdated like the meal plans for rich vs. poor kids in 1907 Italy. Interesting to see the formation of ideas that are almost universally accepted in western society now.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    This book is well-written it's just a little more technical and theory-based than I had expected.

  13. 5 out of 5

    AnaMaria Rivera

    From Maria Montessori herself, a thourough explanation of the rationale behind her genius method, explaining both the lessons, its objectives, applications and most importantly, the BEING of the adult (teacher/guide/parent) who interacts with that child in his/her process of discovering the world. A great read for those interested in understanding where she is coming from and how different her method is to traditional education. “It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our tea From Maria Montessori herself, a thourough explanation of the rationale behind her genius method, explaining both the lessons, its objectives, applications and most importantly, the BEING of the adult (teacher/guide/parent) who interacts with that child in his/her process of discovering the world. A great read for those interested in understanding where she is coming from and how different her method is to traditional education. “It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allysia K

    I'm just getting into the literature on childhood education, so I can't speak in a broad sense, but this was an excellent read (if dated in a few places). Maria makes a strong case for teaching self discipline through self-directed activities - and I find the chapters on discipline to be the most interesting. The chapters on learning to read don't apply as well to English speakers, and we have better information on what to feed children now, but I enjoyed the premise of allowing children to lear I'm just getting into the literature on childhood education, so I can't speak in a broad sense, but this was an excellent read (if dated in a few places). Maria makes a strong case for teaching self discipline through self-directed activities - and I find the chapters on discipline to be the most interesting. The chapters on learning to read don't apply as well to English speakers, and we have better information on what to feed children now, but I enjoyed the premise of allowing children to learn important life skills such as dressing and bathing themselves, and finding intrinsic reward in doing so. Lots of compelling arguments here.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    If you put in to context that this book is over 100 years old, than it is ground breaking. There are lots of aspects of it that shadow the positive parenting trend and make you look at conventional ways of teaching and raising in a new light. With that said, read the other reviews. It is outdated, and there are parts that you can out right skip and even some parts that just aren't scientifically proven or have be proven to be different. I recommend only if you are going to be teaching in a Monte If you put in to context that this book is over 100 years old, than it is ground breaking. There are lots of aspects of it that shadow the positive parenting trend and make you look at conventional ways of teaching and raising in a new light. With that said, read the other reviews. It is outdated, and there are parts that you can out right skip and even some parts that just aren't scientifically proven or have be proven to be different. I recommend only if you are going to be teaching in a Montessori environment. If you are interested in the method try to find a more modern book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    This is a great book in many ways, and I think every Montessori teacher should read it. However, it could do with being updated. A lot of the language is outdated and it may cause readers to turn in their chairs as they read it. I also don’t think this is friendly to the Montessori parent. It is too detailed, too long winded and often reads like a psychological report. I’ll be picking up another Montessori book next.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karina Scott

    Everything we could need to know about Montessori and her beliefs. Teaching pedagogy. Her beginning story. Room set up and furniture size. The problem with prizes and punishments. Teaching independence and community. How beautiful things make children want to take care of them. A child that wants to help. Some of her educational tools and materials. The use of materials through the grades. Teaching complex skills to young children.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Moh

    Good intro into Montessori schooling I have been hearing a lot about the merits of Montessori schooling, so I decided to listen to the audio version book. It's a good overall intro, but a little dry for my taste (maybe it's supposed to be?). I plan to read more books that show evidence of the positive impact of Montessori on early child development.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karla Winick-Ford

    Dr. Montessori's is best explained by she herself. Articulates the philosophy well. There are more current pieces that give strategies and examples teachers may find helpful in the field, but this is a great starting point to the curricular approach.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wissam

    A book that should be read by all teachers and people caring about raising mentally healthy kids but the narration could have been better. over all a great book that still applies to our lives these days.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Padanyi

    Such a fascinating look into the history of Montessori. The content stirred my heart but the format was more of a textbook style which was less enjoyable to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nixon Sucuc

    Really enlightening.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Did not finish. I didn't realize this book was going to be so scholarly- I was more looking for something practical. But if you're looking for something academic/scholarly, this book is for you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roberto

    A must read for all parents who wants their children to learn...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Atia Asha

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Best books for children

  26. 5 out of 5

    Blythe King

    "So now, we wish to direct the teacher, trying to awaken in him, in connection with his own particular field, the school, that scientific spirit which opens the door for him to broader and bigger possibilities. In other words, we wish to awaken in the mind and heart of the educator an interest in natural phenomena to such an extent that, loving nature, he shall understand the anxious and expectant attitude of one who has prepared an experiment and who awaits a revelation from it." (9) "Any nation "So now, we wish to direct the teacher, trying to awaken in him, in connection with his own particular field, the school, that scientific spirit which opens the door for him to broader and bigger possibilities. In other words, we wish to awaken in the mind and heart of the educator an interest in natural phenomena to such an extent that, loving nature, he shall understand the anxious and expectant attitude of one who has prepared an experiment and who awaits a revelation from it." (9) "Any nation that accepts the idea of servitude and believes that it is an advantage for man to be served by man, admits servility as an instinct, and indeed we all too easily lend ourselves to obsequious service, giving to it such complimentary names as courtesy, politeness, charity. In reality, he who is served is limited in his independence. This concept will be the foundation of the dignity of the man of the future; “I do not wish to be served, because I am not an impotent.” And this idea must be gained before men can feel themselves to be really free. Any pedagogical action, if it is to be efficacious in the training of little children, must tend to help the children to advance upon this road of independence. We must help them to learn to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down stairs, to lift up fallen objects, to dress and undress themselves, to bathe themselves, to speak distinctly, and to express their own needs clearly. We must give such help as shall make it possible for children to achieve the satisfaction of their own individual aims and desires. All this is a part of education for independence." (97) "From a biological point of view, the concept of liberty in the education of the child in his earliest years must be understood as demanding those conditions adapted to the most favourable development of his entire individuality. So, from the physiological side as well as from the mental side, this includes the free development of the brain. The educator must be as one inspired by a deep worship of life, and must, through this reverence, respect, while he observes with human interest, the development of the child life." (104) "Life is a superb goddess, always advancing, overthrowing the obstacles which environment places in the way of her triumph. This is the basic or fundamental truth,- whether it be a question of species or of individuals, there persists always the forward march of those victorious ones in whom this mysterious life-force is strong and vital." (106) "And such is our duty toward the child: to give a ray of light and to go on our way." (115) "A great deal of time and intellectual force are lost in the world, because the false seems great and the truth so small and insignificant." (255) "There is educational value in this idea of preparing oneself before trying, and of perfecting oneself before going on. To go forward correcting his own mistakes, boldly attempting things which he does imperfectly, and of which he is as yet unworthy dulls the sensitiveness of the child’s spirit toward his own errors. My method of writing contains an educative concept; teaching the child that prudence which makes him avoid errors, that dignity which makes him look ahead, and which guides him to perfection, and that humility which unites him closely to those sources of good through which alone he can make a spiritual conquest, putting far from him the illusion that the immediate success is ample justification for continuing in the way he has chosen." (292-93)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kay Iscah

    In general, I'm impressed with the Montessori method. I've been slowly working on my own educational method, but the idea with mine is more to bring the strength of many methods together. I agree with most of her philosophies...though there were a few points where I would differ. For instance, while I do think it can be very gratifying for a child to figure out something for themselves, I don't think it's fair or practical to expect them to do this with everything...and when you look closer at t In general, I'm impressed with the Montessori method. I've been slowly working on my own educational method, but the idea with mine is more to bring the strength of many methods together. I agree with most of her philosophies...though there were a few points where I would differ. For instance, while I do think it can be very gratifying for a child to figure out something for themselves, I don't think it's fair or practical to expect them to do this with everything...and when you look closer at the Montessori method, in practice there's a large amount of demonstration and correction involved....it just seems to be oddly restricted to certain areas. Her whole concept was to teach children better by studying them....so theoretically the practice of the method would adapt with time and observation. Though I wonder if modern Montessory classes are adapting to the times (lot of changes in 100 years). As a book, while worth the read, it was a bit difficult to get through some of the early sections. Montessori was very passionate...and the flowery language to enflame enthusiasm and ferver...well, let's just say using that technique effectively was not her strong point. It was much too heavy handed...then again, it could be a preaching to the choir type thing. I already agreed with most of it and therefore being convinced was tedious. The meat of the book is more thought provoking. While I wouldn't take her advice on diet...the concept of concern for health, to have children involved in their own meals, etc. are good. Definitely revolutionary for it's time, and a must read for anyone serious about teaching, whether or not you use the full Montessori Method.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sacha

    So much has already been written about this book that I will limit this review to a few personal observations. This book came alive in my hands. Even after 100 years Maria Montessori's passion is palpable. My responses ranged from amusement at some of her more extreme claims to deep respect for her still relevant observations, methods, and philosophy of education. Maria Montessori writes with clarity and consistency from philosophical heights to practical application. For example she expresses a So much has already been written about this book that I will limit this review to a few personal observations. This book came alive in my hands. Even after 100 years Maria Montessori's passion is palpable. My responses ranged from amusement at some of her more extreme claims to deep respect for her still relevant observations, methods, and philosophy of education. Maria Montessori writes with clarity and consistency from philosophical heights to practical application. For example she expresses a firm belief in the benefits of allowing children their liberty while guiding them to new and appropriate challenges. This is defended philosophically and at the level of psychological research. More practically, it is evidenced in her description of the roll of the teacher as facilitator and observer. (A more challenging roll than 'leader' to be sure)! Finally, the ideas are made utterly practical in the description of didactic material and games. I even learned some new games to play with kiddo. The language is wonderful. It is a particular pleasure to read well written work from another era. A quote: As a matter of fact, good people are those who advance toward the good -- that good which is made up of their own self-development and of external acts of order and usefulness.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aurélien Thomas

    Here's a fantastic read to better understand Maria Montessori's philosophy, influences and, even, biography -as she retells how her children's houses came into existence. Contrary to other readers (maybe more used to fiction or non academic books, I don't know) I didn't find it challenging, far from that. Full packed with informations, she manages to bring altogether whole areas of scientific expertise (pedagogy, psychology, sociology) that, coupled to her own experience in dealing with children Here's a fantastic read to better understand Maria Montessori's philosophy, influences and, even, biography -as she retells how her children's houses came into existence. Contrary to other readers (maybe more used to fiction or non academic books, I don't know) I didn't find it challenging, far from that. Full packed with informations, she manages to bring altogether whole areas of scientific expertise (pedagogy, psychology, sociology) that, coupled to her own experience in dealing with children with special needs and/or from impoverished backgrounds, form a riveting and fascinating account of her pedagogy and ideals. Published for the first time in 1912, the science is of course at times shockingly outdated (for instance, her reliance on psychometric). However, not only the core ideas of her methods and goals, still relevant nowadays, is put forward warmly and poetically but, also, she brushes asides criticisms, the same kind of misunderstandings surrounding her approach now and then, with delightful ease. Her passion is contagious and, considering her huge impact on today's educational systems in many countries, anyone with even a slight interest in education should read this. As a parent, I particularly enjoyed her holistic approach, humanistic ideal and, insistence on self-discipline and independence.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Maria Montessori writes, in reference to her discovery of how to make new materials which would teach children how to write: "We wish the old things because we cannot understand the new, and we are always seeking after that gorgeousness which belongs to things already on the decline, without recognizing in the humble simplicity of new ideas the germ which shall develop in the future." The cornerstone of her method is simple observation of children, free of assumptions of any kind. If only more p Maria Montessori writes, in reference to her discovery of how to make new materials which would teach children how to write: "We wish the old things because we cannot understand the new, and we are always seeking after that gorgeousness which belongs to things already on the decline, without recognizing in the humble simplicity of new ideas the germ which shall develop in the future." The cornerstone of her method is simple observation of children, free of assumptions of any kind. If only more people would have an open mind to the Montessori Method, instead of disregarding it because it is new and different... This book is a bit too scientific for me, if not way too much. The second-to-last chapter is the best in terms of communicating to the layman what her theory is all about. The Secret of Childhood and the Discovery of the Child I enjoyed MUCH more. There is an interesting chapter in nutrition in here... jaw-dropping: chocolate, sugar, butter, butter, butter! with veggies used sparingly being ok!! I guess nutrition has come a long way! All-in-all: good, but not my first choice!

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