If you are new to Montessori, I recommend that this be the FIRST volume that you read. All other works by outside authors are simply "icing on the cake" of Dr. Montessori's original work "The Montessori Method".
Here, Maria Montessori introduces a scientific approach to pedagogy. The Montessori schools which she established and developed are intended for children three to seven years of age. The children are allowed as much freedom as possible and are provided with "didactic materials" which are various artifacts which they can use to educate themselves.
This book offers valuable concete advice, but its primary use to me was as an introduction to the approach of scientific pedagogy. The basic premises as I understand them are that (1) children have a natural desire to learn and (2) one can learn how to live in freedom only by being free. These premises are fully supported and fleshed out in the book. The Montessori method achieved startling results, with four year old children (on average) learning to be masters of themselves, disciplined, benevolent, self-confident, and capable of reading and writing. Every educator should be familiar with Maria Montessori's work.
It seems so difficult to realize that Dr Montessori formulated her educational model 100 years ago, developed all the didactic material herself ( without the aid of computers and technology), practiced her methods, revised her teaching and made all educators a present of her writings; and yet so few schools and countries are making use of her methods.
This book is "dated" based solely on the fact that this first English edition was published in 1912 and that she worked predominantly with poor children in the slums of Italy. Diet and hygiene were a major concern during this time period and still are in certain parts of the world.
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