[NOTE: I originally posted this review 3 years ago, but a recent movement in my community to start a public Montessori school reminded me that the Montessori method continues to be of interest to parents, so I'm re-posting this today.]
How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way is written by Tim Seldin, who happens to be the president of the Montessori Foundation. So, I suppose it should not be surprising that the book is essentially an infomercial on Montessori schools. But does that mean it’s not worth reading?
In fact, the book does have value, even for (or maybe especially for) parents who don’t intend to send their children to Montessori schools. Many Montessori activities can be replicated in your own home and can supplement whatever type of primary education your child might be receiving.
- Games and Activities: Seldin provides numerous examples of at-home educational activities and games you can play with your infant, toddler, and child up to age six. The book is replete with photographs of the activities Seldin describes, making it a visually enjoyable read. The activities listed are probably the single biggest reason I will keep this book instead of swapping it at a used bookstore- as my daughter gets older, I can see that it will be useful to refer back to it to get some fresh ideas. However, I would have liked to see activities for children over 6 years old- Montessori schools can go up to grade 8, or even through high school, so there’s probably no shortage of interesting activities for older children. Unfortunately, Seldin doesn’t cover those.
- Ideas for Child’s room: Seldin describes ways in which parents can “evolve” a child’s room, and the whole house, to fit the child’s needs as they grow. I am fairly new to the the Montessori philosophy, but I can tell you that I immediately saw a difference in my daughter’s fussiness and tantrums when I started making the house more accessible to her. For instance, when she was two years old I put her bowls, plates and cups into a low kitchen cabinet- she was able to get a bowl by herself and fill it with some crackers and raisins when she was hungry. She LOVED the independence this gave her.
- Discipline Advice: One chapter in a book probably isn’t enough to overhaul a parent’s disciplinary practices, but Seldin does provide a few useful tips on minimizing tantrums and teaching care and compassion.
- Appendix of Montessori Resources: This alone isn’t enough to buy the book, but I did appreciate that Seldin devoted one page at the end of the book to compiling a list of various Montessori organizations, books, and suppliers of Montessori educational materials. (If you’re curious, my favorite supplier currently is Montessori Services – they have lots of useful games, puzzles, furniture, housewares and other stuff for kids.)