Top 10 Books on the Montessori Method
Updated: Jan 8, 2022
1. The Absorbent Mind, by Dr. Montessori
This is the must read, primary source book on Montessori's philosopy for educating children from birth to 6 years, and should be required reading for any Early Childhood Education (ECE) course. It was written after the success of her method had been apparent in practice (around the world) for many years.
2. The Montessori Method, by Dr. Montessori
The original title for this book in Italian was, "Scientific Pedagogy", which was translated by American publishers to: The Montessori Method. Dr. Montessori's original title is fitting however. Her book takes you on a journey with her as she chronicals the discoveries made about how children learn. She made these discoveries by applying the scientific method to education in the very first Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, in the ghettos of Rome. The book gives the reader a window into her many discoveries through trial and error, as well as the spectacular breakthrough moments, such as the first "explosion into writing" that brought the attention and admiration of people from around the world, including royalty, to her humble school.
3. The Advanced Montessori Method, by Dr. Montessori
This is the book that I found tucked away in a back corner of our large county seat library. I felt as if I had discovered a gold mine! This book not only goes into detail about the philosophy and method for children age 3-6, but it also discusses the extension of the method to older children, ages 7-11. This book is wonderful for anyone interested in how Montessori works for children in the second plane of development.
4. Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook, by Dr. Montessori
Here is a public domain freebie for you on Project Gutenburg! This short book shows pictures of materials, and how to set up a Children's House. Dr. Montessori also explains the use of her innovative materials such as the sand paper letters, lacing fames, and geometric design insets.
5. Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, by E.M. Standing
This book was written by a friend, and fan of Dr. Montessori. It gives the reader a window into what a Montessori classroom looks like in action, and how the method is applied in practical terms. I loved reading this book for two reasons: first because Standing's enthusiasm for the method is contagious, and second, because he answers many of the questions that I'm sure curious parents and educators both then and now have about the Montessori Method, including, "yeah, but how does it work in real life?!" Standing, in my opinion, often does a better job than Dr. Montessori herself of describing some of the minute but important details of how a Montessori classroom is run.
6. Montessori Mother, by Dorothy Canfield
I just loved this book! Even though it was written over 100 years ago, it reads like a modern mommy parenting blog. As I was reading, I could imagine Dorothy fitting right in to a present day mom's group, sharing all the latest and greatest parenting and education methods. It was heartwarming to feel connected to a mom from a century ago, and to read first hand how much enthusiasm the Montessori Method generated among parents in the know when it was in its infancy. I also loved learning how Dorothy took what worked for her family, and adapted where she could. Since it is in the public domain, I read this entire book for free on Project Gutenberg.
7. Montessori: A Modern Approach, by Paula Polk Lillard
I picked this book up a a thrift store years ago. It is written by a mom, in an easy to read, and relatable format. It does a good job of explaining the method, and is especially helpful to parents of young children wanting to know if Montessori is right for their family.
8. The Secret of Childhood, by Dr. Montessori
Although this book has some overlap with other books by Dr. Montessori, I still feel it is a worthy read. The book covers the topics of early childhood development, discussions about the first Children's House, and other important topics such as competition, freedom, and the role of the adult.
9. The Discovery of the Child, by Dr. Montessori
Dr. Montessori details in this book how the child's natural, inborn desire to learn is harnessed in her revolutionary method of education that uses the laws of nature and science to optimize human potential. She also gives examples of how wrong methods can miss opportunities to help children learn with little effort. For example in the "Absorbent Mind" phase of development. I found this book also overlaps with other works by Dr. Montessori, but is still a great read!
10. How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin
This was the verry first book I ever read on the Montessori Method. Years ago when my boys (son and step-son) were young, I picked it up while browsing the public library. I was drawn to it by bright, inspiring picutres, and short, and easy to implement tweaks to parenting that were suposed to have a great impact. I loved that this book was practical, and an easy read (critical for busy parents). The biggest aha for me was to go re-arrange my boys' room to promote their independence. Backpack hooks at their hight were added to their bedroom, clutter was cleared, and their play room was re-organized so their mostly educational toys were displayed on open shelves instead of crammed in a toy box.
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