Showing posts with label Montessori from the Start. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montessori from the Start. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Book Review: Montessori From the Start

I wanted to take the time to talk about one of my favorite parenting books. This book is called Montessori from the Start by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen.


As a mother of two, I grow to value this book more and more each day. I think that I reread it twice now and I can honestly say that it was a really good guide for teaching my two children life skills.

It was also the first book and first major resource that I found to include everything from before birth to three years of age. I have framed many resources that I have found on the internet within the timeline and content of this book.

The book content is divided into 10 wonderful chapters that cover an overview of human development from the lens of Montessori education including: the environment of a newborn, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, communication development, and life skills involving multiple sequential tasks.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is on page 18. It summarizes our endeavor as parents, "Today, although some of us enjoy the greatest affluence the world has ever known, we find that developing a home environment that serves the human spirit, a home of beauty, order, and simplicity, remains a very challenging task."

Reading that sentence puts things into perspective. Many adults crave an environment such as this themselves. And to be quite honest, there are a few good habits and life skills that I would like to build on. Everyone keeps learning some things regardless of age. Similarly, as we get older, our environments change potentially in surroundings or the people surrounding us.

I found the beginning chapter covering the preparation of the nursery for the child to be very enlightening and made me appreciate the book immediately. Instead of promoting that themes should be ever-present and all linens should match, or that the latest gadgets are required, this chapter goes back to basics. You are the most important person to your child. Things help, but a child can still be happy and develop a good sense of self with just the basics.

Using this Book with One Child in the Home


My eldest is now almost out of the age range covered in this book and I can confidently say that I have tried the majority of lessons with my child, and the majority of them were helpful.

He got to experience a nursery with a floor bed, a few toys, an adapted mirror, a changing area on top of a refurbished dresser, a rocking chair, mobiles, and a side table for essentials. We did include a humidifier, a fun color on the walls and some other things that were not completely Montessori, but for the most part, it was simple.

I think a lot of people would highly enjoy the middle chapters covering practical life and personal care skills. I can tell you that I had the sequence of "toddler knives" planned out for a long time. And I was a lot more excited than he was when I adapted the Duktig from ikea to allow him to store child sized things and complete child size meal preparation. It was special to watch my child make parts of a meal or make a snack. And I think these chapters guide the parents to allow their children to become more independent than before because it can be a bit emotional to watch your child outgrow a stage.

There were ups and downs following this book. I had tried all of the advice on potty training and it was still hard. Some things will always be harder than others.

Using this Book with Two Children in the Home


I was lucky to have read this book before any of my children were born because I would not have been able to implement anything otherwise. It is hard to manage the needs of two children at once and it is even harder to manage these needs while also teaching them and helping them become more independent people. It is much easier to just take care of them when you are constantly running around. And it is harder to patiently watch your oldest put on a shirt with his head and arm coming out of the collar when his younger sibling is fussing over a toy that he threw just out of his reach.

What I learned was that my at one time useful mobiles now got more attention from my toddler than captivation from my newborn. And as a result, these shapes were often thrown across the room. Likewise, my younger child liked to bite on my older child's animal toys as much as his own teething toys. And my older child was happy to provide them.

Limited intentional lessons, those typically presented on a tabletop, in a basket, or a tray, are now almost seamlessly integrated with the rest of the house. My youngest child has a zone where his lesson items live and that only includes mobiles, teethers, and shapes, while my oldest child has the command of the rest of the house where he knows where everything lives.

So there have been times that required more perseverance than others. It is not easy to be a mom when you are outnumbered and it is not easy to Montessori when you are outnumbered. 

I will cover how I have adapted and implemented the techniques, toys, suggestions, and lessons within this book and others.






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