Summer Reading, A Montessori List


Hopefully, your children are spending quality time reading or being read to over these summer months, but what about the grown ups?  If you happen to be a bookworm who misses the days of summer reading lists, here’s a quick one with some Montessori titles that you can pepper in with your juicy beach reads!


For the Infant-Toddler crowd…

The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies: This might be the hottest book in the Montessori world at the moment. It’s an excellent and beautiful compendium of information about your child’s developmental needs, ways to set up your home in a Montessori way, and activities to offer for your child.    Check out Ms. Megan  “fan girling” Simone Davies at the AMS conference back in March:



Elevating Childcare: A Guide to Respectful Parenting:  Janet Lansbury, a student of Magda Gerber, is a child care expert dedicated to the respectful care of young children.   This book is a compilation of her most popular articles from her incredible blog and tackles almost every issue you can think of when it comes to parenting infants and toddlers.



For the Children’s House Set…

Montessori: A Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard.   For decades, this book as been a go-to for parents and teachers new to a Montessori classroom.  It is a succinct and informative overview of Montessori education.  This book helps make sense of the Montessori materials and gives invaluable insight into the goals of your child’s Montessori classroom.    A great alternative to diving into Maria Montessori’s more verbose and scientific works.

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin.  A heavy hitter in the Montessori world, Tim Seldin is currently the President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council.  He has deep ties to the DMV as he is the former Head of School at the Barrie School and former Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, where many of our teachers received their Montessori credential.  Fun Fact:  He also consulted to The Springs when former owner Cathy Shields developed our Full Day program in the 1980s.  That being said, he knows his stuff and is a Montessori father to boot.  In this classic, he shares how to incorporate Montessori philosophy into parenting practices with a focus on 3-6 year-olds.



For the Big Kids….

Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful by Donna Bryant Goertz.  This book offers an amazing, first hand exploration of the power of a Montessori Elementary environment through the lens of children often labeled as “difficult.”   A great read for any parents even if your child is already peaceful as it will reveal the intricacies and unsung benefits of Montessori elementary education.

Montessori Today:  A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood by Paula Polk Lillard.  This is another, Polk Lillard gem that concisely, but thoroughly presents Montessori philosophy and history in a digestible way.  While this book covers Birth to Adulthood, it offers a heavy emphasis on the elementary years and offers amazing insights into how Montessori education fosters intellectual development.


For the Science Geeks…

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard.  Preeminent Montessori researcher and UVA Professor, Lillard lays out the numerous ways that modern science proves and confirms the theories and teachings of Maria Montessori and her educational philosophy.   A great read for those who want the data and to see that the proof is in the pudding.



For the Myth Busters

These are for you if you’ve ever said your child goes to Montessori school and were hit with an eyeroll accompanied by any of the following:

“Oh! They just let kids do whatever they want”

“Oh! Montessori schools are so rigid”

“Aren’t those schools like communist prisons?They make them walk with their hands behind that backs” (a personal favorite)

“When are you going to put your child in real school?”

Montessori Madness:  A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler.  The title really says it all.    One of the “Montessori Madmen”, Trevor Eissler makes a wonderful case for Montessori education and does so in an easy, accessible way that makes sense of Montessori jargon and complexities.

The Montessori Essential:  An Introduction to the Woman, the Writings, the Method and the Movement by Elizabeth G Hainstock.  This is a wonderful and complete overview of the Montessori Method, but also the history behind the entire movement.  This has been a must read in the world of Montessori for years and years.


Lastly, Straight From the Source…


Now, I love everything about Montessori, but I will be the first to admit that her writings aren’t the most riveting.  They can vacillate from scientific to rambling spirituality and were hardly written to be page turners.  One top of that, translations from the original Italian are often murky and she was writing over 100 years ago, so her terminology sometimes feels archaic and outdated, but despite it all the genius is there and worth examining from time to time!


Here are some of her more manageable works:

Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook by Maria Montessori.  This short work was recently reissued after many years of being out of print. Montessori answers, in her own words, the many questions she received from parents and teachers.   She explains her methodology in concise vignettes and helps make sense her gigantic body of work.

The Discovery of the Child by Maria Montessori.  One of her most “readable” works, The Discovery of the Child examines the inherent nature of children and how education should be tailored to their intrinsic needs rather than forced into a one size fits all box.  This work truly reveals the beauty of the child and highlights Maria Montessori deep understanding and respect of children.


Check them out today! All are available in our school libraries!

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