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Secret of Childhood Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1982

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Maria Montessori describes the child with warmth and the exactness of a scientist. She also discusses the array of materials and techniques needed to release his learning potential.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (January 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345305833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345305831
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Laughterking on March 14, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since 1936, when her seminal work 'The Secret of Childhood' was first published, Maria Montessori has been the leading figure in promoting a holistic education approach to children of all ages. Concepts as radical as the three fundamental freedoms (the freedom to repeat work, the freedom to move around the classroom and the freedom to choose which work they want to do) that each child should have, blast forth form the pages like a breaking news story.
However, the 'secrets' in the book quickly surface as Montessori begins with a look at the traditional perception of the child. She believed that the child was going to be the major concern of the twentieth century and when the education systems that exist today are compared to those of the turn of the 20th century, it can easily be argued that she was right.
She does not end with feeble predictions, however, and goes on to talk of how adults have failed children and will continue to do so unless they change their attitude to children. For some this book will not turn out to be the rainbows and cuddly toys that they traditionally associate with books concerning young children! She pulls no punches in condemning those who have held children in such low regard for so long.
The psychological features present in the new born child, feature strongly in the early part of the book. Montessori cites the work of Hugo de Vries as a precursor to her work on 'Sensitive Periods', which are essentially, periods of time throughout the child's development where he is able to learn certain life skills. Once these periods are missed, it is unlikely that the child will be able to learn the skill, ever. These skills include speech, mobility and several others.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an important work because it highlights what is wrong with common trends in parenting. You learn that the parent is there to foster a positive environment in which a child can thrive. It is not complicated. The child will show you what they need and when they need it. This book helps you to recognize what the child's needs are, but from the child's perspective. I found it to be a breath of fresh air and wished my parents had read it.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By a reader from north carolina (wvansant@dttus.com) on November 19, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been curious about Montessori for some time and this book was wonderful at introducing her teachings. She explains how many teaching methods are not only ineffective but harmful because they oppress a child's natural desire to learn and create. While, I think what she was saying was idealistic at times, I think all parents and schools would benefit by reading this book and incorporating these principles in how they teach children
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D.L on September 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i bought one mass market paperback and lost it. So i order this one. because when i clicked the "look inside", it appears "Just so you know...
This view is of the Mass Market Paperback edition (1982) from Ballantine Books. The Paperback edition (2009) from Orient Blackswan that you originally viewed is the one you'll receive if you click the Add to Cart button on the left."

But in reality, it does change a lot of contents! i should say, it lost a lot of original contents! i don't understand why amazon put the wording like the above.

So, please, whoever wants to know the original Dr. Maria Montessori's idea about "the secret of childhood", go with the mass market paperback one although it is a little bit hard to read due to the small font. But it's absolutely worthy. It explained thoroughly. Not like this one, kind like cheating the reader.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine Smith on January 4, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to say the first time I read this book I was 21 and I didn't get very far and found it quite difficult to follow, two education degrees and two children later I will happily admit I have learnt more through this book than both my degree combined. This woman was brilliant and her discoveries (not theories), were absolutely ground breaking. What she discovered and revealed through scientific observation 100 years ago, neuroscience and brain imaging has been confirming in recent decades. 100 years ahead of her time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Spy on October 10, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A bit difficult writing style, heavy reading but massive knowledge as well.
Maria Montessori was a pioneer in children education/raising/learning and nowadays science (brain development) is proving her right from every aspect. This is one of her late works, so you will find most of her thoughts in there, but in a way more holistic and generic.
All her knowledge is derived from hands-on experience, so consider reading it slowly to grasp all meanings. Ok, Montessori is a bit difficult on working at home (try a good school for better support), but consider and implement some aspects of it and you will soon discover a new child. It is also more generalized, but I think that is the best way to master the genius behind the specific details of her educational system. Tons of books on the subject (many of them really good), but this is her own work and it is well worth reading material for every parent not only those interested in montessori. Try it...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SillySeal on May 29, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have the option to read this edition or none, then this is definitely worth it. But if given the choice between this translation and the one formally published by the Kaleshetra (I don't think that's spelled correctly) company, this is definitely a more watered-down version. Montessori was a very powerful voice, and this is a bit "softer".
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