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Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three Paperback – July 22, 2003


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Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three + How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way + Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; 1 edition (July 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805211128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805211122
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A major and timely contribution to the early childhood years—anecdotal, rich in insight and experience, practical and useful. This informed, careful, and intelligent response to the unfolding of personality will peak parents’ interest as they learn how to establish healthy, enjoyable, and sustaining relationships with their children. A must for parents-to-be, nannies, and care-givers.” —Virginia McHugh Goodwin, Executive Director, Association Montessori International, U.S.A.

From the Back Cover

“A major and timely contribution to the early childhood years—anecdotal, rich in insight and experience, practical and useful. This informed, careful, and intelligent response to the unfolding of personality will peak parents’ interest as they learn how to establish healthy, enjoyable, and sustaining relationships with their children. A must for parents-to-be, nannies, and care-givers.” —Virginia McHugh Goodwin, Executive Director, Association Montessori International, U.S.A.

More About the Author

Paula Polk Lillard is the author of Montessori Today and Montessori in the Classroom. She is cofounder and director of the Forest Bluff School in Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

I re-purposed the bottom shelves in existing book shelves, so I have a few toys and books in each room.
Ivy
It says things like 'Everyone knows it is easier to do for the child rather than teach it to do for itself, but to do that is just being a lazy mother'.
jennimus
I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering to do Montessori in their home or sending their kids to school.
J. Lutow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

417 of 420 people found the following review helpful By Ivy on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I postponed buying this book until my baby was 5 months because of the negative reviews. I was wrong. After reading the book, I realized that the negative reviews are mostly due to a shallow cursory reading of the book, rather than due to the subject matter. Here is why:

1. The authors do a great job at explaining how the Montessori principles can be applied to newborns. There are NO other books that do so, and the authors are very explicit in stating that the principles are what counts - the application is up to the parent. (But this can be very hard for parents in our "how-to-manual"-driven culture). The most important concept is that of observing the child closely and paying attention to all his cues so you know what works for your child. I take this to mean that I am the final judge of how I implement Montessori methods for my child, and that suits me just fine.

2. The authors recommend the child bed - basically a twin/full mattress on the floor. When I read about this, I thought painfully about the $$$ spent on the crib, co-sleeper, and pack'n play, all of which my child has refused to sleep on in favor of a twin-size daybed we already had. When I discovered that he only wanted to sleep in a big boy bed, I researched a bit on the safety of doing so and other sleep-issues, and found that these authors are not the only ones to suggest a bed on the floor. Dr. Sears (The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family (Sears Parenting Library)) and Elizabeth Pantley (
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444 of 464 people found the following review helpful By Alianor on December 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I worked as a Montessori teaching assistant many years ago and was already familiar with her ideas, so when my own daughter was born I was eager to put them into practice. I read a review of this book and bought it but although it has a few good suggestions, overall it was of very little use. Though the book is intended for use from birth to age 3, the focus is overwhelmingly on babyhood. If your child is already walking and you didn't use the Montessori child-bed, weaning chair, weaning table, etc, much of this book will be pointless. If you do not have the resources to buy the equipment suggested, this book will also not be of much use, because it rarely suggests inexpensive or homemade alternatives.

I also strongly object to some of the authors' suggestions in the chapter entitled "Personal Care". They recommend intensive toilet training beginning at 12-15 months, and weaning from breastfeeding at 9 months, arguing that this will foster the child's feelings of independence. Both of these suggestions are contrary to the latest advice given by childcare experts. Few children show any signs of being ready for toilet training at such a young age -- most are still learning to walk, or have recently learned to do so, and for the parent to begin intensive toilet training at this time interferes with the child's natural instincts to be on the move. Furthermore it is much easier and faster to toilet train when the child is actually ready to do so, which in the vast majority of cases is not before the age of two.

The authors' advice to wean from the breast at 9 months is contrary to that of the American Association of Pediatrics, which recommends that breastmilk be the primary source of nutrition for all of the first year. This advice can also be dangerous.
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84 of 92 people found the following review helpful By scientific mom on May 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book could easily be condensed to less than half its size. It contains a few good Montessori ideas for the 3-and-under crowd when it comes to the basics - sleeping, eating, etc - but I still come away from the book wanting to know what to do with/for my child in the Montessori manner on a more daily basis. Half of the book is easily spent talking about the "child bed" and feeding table alone - and that info is spread all over the book. The writing is rather hap-hazard and rambling. I would have much prefered the book be arranged by age (ex: chapter 1: 0-6 months) then subcatagorized by subject, rather than by subject alone. The authors seem to be trying to interject Montessori theory into a book about hands-on practice, and the result is a jumbled mess.
I've learned much more about child psychological development and age-appropriate ideas from "The New First Three Years of Life" by Burton White. It is chronologically ordered, then each chapter is subcatagorized.
There's a few other Montessori books on Amazon I'm going to try instead, such as "Basic Montessori, Learning Activities for Under Fives", "Teaching Montessori in the Home, the Pre-School Years", and "Montessori Play and Learn."
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Dr. N. Smith on November 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Montessori from the Start is not for parents or teachers new to Montessori. This book does a poor job presenting an overview of Montessori philosophy (for an excellent & succinct overview of Montessori, see Kathleen Futrell's The Normalized Child), and the tone is often condescending and irritating. One part of Maria Montessori's philosophy that Lillard & Jessen never mention is 'follow the child,' presumably because they fear that parents will misinterpret that as letting the child do whatever s/he wants (which is absolutely not what M. Montessori intended). Although there is some good information in the book, Lillard & Jessen are too programmatic. Children are NOT all the same (neither are families), and M. Montessori understood that very well.

While we implement Montessori in our home, it is tailored to what we think is most appropriate for all of us. So while my son has learned to use the potty/toilet at nineteen months, he still nurses, and we sleep in a low family bed. I would not recommend this book; instead parents might like Patricia Oriti's At Home with Montessori, Angeline Stoll Lillard's Montessori: the Science behind the Genius, and of course Maria Montessori's The Secret of Childhood to get a better idea for how to bring Montessori into the home.
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