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The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three Paperback – June 15, 2013
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About the Author
The author's books are always about making the lives of children, and their families, happy, interesting, satisfying, and geared to the stage of development of each child. Her experience in this area is broad and international. In 1963-1964 Susan Mayclin Stephenson spent four months aboard the first university on shipboard, now known as The Semester at Sea, traveling and studying the cultures of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. This awakened a life-long interest in the differences and similarities in cultures, specifically in parenting. After earning a degree with a double major of philosophy and comparative religions, at San Francisco State University, Susan worked as a counselor in a detention center for juvenile offenders. It was the experience with these troubled young people, from both the poorest and the wealthiest communities in the San Francisco area, that convinced her that in order to fulfill the potential of individuals and of society, it is best to begin as early in life as possible. In 1971, Susan earned a 2.5-6 diploma at the Maria Montessori Institute (MMI) in London, England and the 6-12 diploma at the Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) in Washington, DC. After teaching children from the age 2-13 for twenty years she earned the 0-3, or Assistants to Infancy (A to I) diploma at The Montessori Institute (TMI) in Denver, Colorado, completed a masters degree in education at Loyola University Maryland, and took as course on multiple intelligences from Howard Gardner, Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Her two daughters took the Montessori Assistants to Infancy course in order to be the best parents possible. Susan has traveled in over 60 countries and often shares her experiences in these countries through her art, most often oil paintings which can be seen on her website. She has worked with parents and teachers, documented children’s developmental stages, consulted with schools, and served as an examiner on Montessori training courses. Susan is also the author of "Child of the World: Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+"
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Top customer reviews
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This book will appeal to parents who are already seeking to expose their child to horizon-broadening experiences and want to challenge themselves not to overlook any key areas of development. And this book is a challenge: the author recommends very few products/toys, instead placing primary importance on time spent with the child and a refocus of the parent's attention on how the child sees the world. In short, don't expect that after reading this you'll know what to place in your Amazon cart so that you can do Montessori education with your youngster. The good news is that anyone--regardless of income--can do Montessori, as the author demonstrates in the appendix on Montessori in Bhutan.*
I had two gripes with this book: first, the information about breastfeeding/weaning goes against everything I've heard from my lactation consultants, pediatricians, and the World Health Organization. In this book, fruit juice is introduced at 3 months and solids at 4 months.
Secondly, there is no mention of the importance of sharing one's faith with one's child or a child's spiritual development. This is a sad omission, as the early years are a critical time to lay the foundation for faith. The only mention of faith is in the appendix when a Buddhist child places an offering on an alter, and then the author only addresses the child's physical accomplishment of placing the money down.
*The author does recommend a drum, a set of animal models, small drinking glasses, and a mini set of gardening tools. A shape stacker is also recommended. But it's clear the author thinks you can find or improvise everything you need from what you already have.
The suggestions given by Susan are practical, do-able and theoretically based. They exemplify good practices in early childhood education, supported by research in the neurosciences. Though some of the ideas are new to many parents, the ideas are based on many years of practice with children in different cultural and economic settings. Many of the ideas are applicable to daycare centers offering care for the youngest children.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the development of children under the age of three.
Most recent customer reviews
As a Montessorian for over 30 years i believe every new parent should read this book...Read more