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Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  883 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
What can parents do to help their youngest children in their task of self-formation? How does the Montessori method of hands-on learning and self-discovery relate to the youngest infants? This authoritative and accessible book answers these and many other questions. Based on Dr. Maria Montessori's instructions for raising infants, its comprehensive exploration of the first ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 22nd 2003 by Schocken (first published 2003)
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The Montessori Method by Maria MontessoriMontessori from the Start by Paula Polk LillardDr. Montessori's Own Handbook by Maria MontessoriThe Secret of Childhood by Maria MontessoriHow To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin
Best Books for Montessorians
2nd out of 27 books — 11 voters
The Montessori Method by Maria MontessoriMaria Montessori by E.M. StandingMontessori by Angeline Stoll LillardMontessori Madness! by Trevor EisslerMontessori from the Start by Paula Polk Lillard
5th out of 26 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,021)
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Jun 06, 2012 Alison added it
I'm torn on this book. I like the basic suggestions but hate the advice to wean at 9 months to "increase independence". That advice is not just totally arbitrary but scientifically invalid. Attatchment studies show increased independence in children nursed longer than 12 months and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing longer than 12 months.

That being said, this is a great introduction to Montessori and how to implement many of the practices in your home. Wish I had read it whil
Feb 05, 2009 Yvonne rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with young children, but especially though of Marlise
I thought this was a great book. I enjoyed Dr. Montessori's books in her own words, but this book did a great job giving some guidelines on how to implement Montessori principles with teaching infants and toddlers how to do things themselves. I know that even 150 years ago pioneer children were a lot more mature then they are today so it would make sense to me that children are very capable of learning how to 'help' and how to take care of themselves.
A few things I have done since I started rea
Jun 11, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
I checked this book out, because we’re planning to homeschool Montessori-style, so to speak. Before having our precious little boy, I worked for three years as an assistant at a Christian Montessori preschool (ages 3-6), my time there is what persuaded my husband and I that Montessori is a good method for educating the whole child. As my husband says, “It’s just practical.”

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend this book for someone who is new to the concept and style of the Montessori Method. It
Aug 10, 2012 Hannah rated it it was ok
Well. I cant help but find myself sitting here wondering, "Are the views on infancy espoused by this author actually the Montessori viewpoint, or is she simply parroting back modern baby trainers?"

As a proponent of ecological breastfeeding, I was dumbfounded to find her statements that the baby is ready to wean from the breast by six to nine months "because baby is ready for that new sense of independence!" Even the American Association of Pediatrics recommends nursing through the first year fo
Mar 01, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Definitely a take some/leave some advice book. I'm not going to give my toddler a knife or have him sleep on a futon instead of a crib, but there's a lot to be said for respecting a baby/child's independence and not bombarding him with too much toy/electronic stimulation.
Jul 26, 2015 Siim rated it it was amazing
Montessori's approach to assisting the development of the child is, to me, not another how-to theory. Rather, it is a mentality and a common-sense approach to doing things. Everything said seems very logical, and I find myself nodding along to reading the book.

The most important thing to raising a child and assist in his self-formation is taking the time to observing him and, yes, assisting him and collaborating with him.

The book is a great companion as it covers several important themes and doe
Julie McDonald
Jan 06, 2009 Julie McDonald rated it it was ok
It's difficult for me to review nonfiction books. For this one in particular, I have to keep reminding myself to focus on reviewing the book, and not the subject of Montessori education. I was interested in this book because it's one of the few resources I've found that includes educational information geared toward infants. Most early childhood resources begin with information about 2 and 3 year olds. I did take away some ideas that I can incorporate into my son's environment, and I also learne ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Lucinda rated it liked it
For the most part I think there is a lot of truth to what the author argues in this book. Giving your child the freedom and opportunity (and support provided in the proper way) to develop gross and fine motor skills, language skills and practical daily life skills starts, well, from the start of their life (not at 3 years of age when they head off to preschool).
At times, though, the author comes across as really sanctimonious, as though using any sort of devices - like a high chair, for instanc
Shira and Ari Evergreen
Dec 08, 2015 Shira and Ari Evergreen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents, educators, anyone who works with kids
This is a somewhat dense-feeling book lightened somewhat by the hand-drawn psycho-motor development timeline in the beginning, and a small section of black and white photos partway through. Montessori-style education seems to require or at least strongly encourage a simplicity and spare-ness of the home that we just can't manage in our household; also it has a certain rigidity surrounding bedtime (no co-sleeping here) and weaning. But there are many useful ideas here that help get at why kids ac ...more
Douaa Magdy
اعجبنى الكتاب و استفدت منه فى عدة نقاط و اختلفت مع الكاتبة فى نقاط بسيطة
الكتاب يشرح فلسفة منتسورى و يوضح بطريقة علمية تطور الطفل و ما يمكننا عمله لدعم نموه من بيئة محيطة و انشطة و دعم نفسى منذ الولادة و حتى سن ثلاث سنوات ، الكتاب غير ملون و يتبع اسلوب السرد أى ان العناوين و الصور قليلة و هذا يدعو للملل احيانا ، لكنه افضل كثيرا برأيى من كتب ماريا منتسورى نفسها التى تميل للتطويل و الاعادة
May 25, 2016 Talia marked it as to-read
p35: "The goal is to create a home life that is not overly serious and is filled with joyfulness and spontaneity."

p37: "The parents' challenge is to establish a home environment that encourages the development of concentration from the child's infancy and that supports flow experiences for all family members. Such a home reflects the complexity of life."

p40: "Because the infant absorbs every aspect of her environment, we need to be very careful about what we include in it. Certainly we want to b
Dec 26, 2014 Sara rated it liked it
The thing is that I find a lot of merit in the Big Concepts behind the Montessori method: practicality, tangible learning, fostering independence, simplicity. Those are all things I'm way into. But I have found that I don't enjoy reading the work of Montessori or those who follow her nearly as much as I enjoy talking with them, because the writing I've read from Montessori and Montessori enthusiasts is less user-friendly/more analytical and academic. Which is fine! There's nothing wrong with tha ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I've heard a lot about the Montessori Method, and was thinking about future pre/schools for my not-even-two-year-old, so I thought I'd give this book a whirl.

A lot of the book focuses on newborn, infancy, up to the fifteen and eighteen month timeframe (mine is twenty-one months), even though the title says "birth to age three". I still read all of it, but I think a lot of people picking this up would be frustrated if they already have a nearly-two-year-old like I do. I read it because I was tru
Mar 13, 2012 Kimberlee rated it really liked it
I learned a lot from this book, although as with any "expert" opinion, you have to pick and choose advice that will work for you. Some of the author's prominent opinions left me feeling guilty, for example, my son sleeps in a crib, has not been potty trained by 18 months, wears disposable diapers, sits in a high chair to eat, and has plastic toys. I understand the author's reasons behind their ideas, but they were extremely inflexible. I do heartily agree that kids don't need all of the gadgets ...more
Ashlyn Hunt
Mar 07, 2013 Ashlyn Hunt rated it liked it

I certainly appreciate the philosophy that an infant/toddler should be submursed into a learning environment that encompasses toys that encourage enriched learning and thinking. I also favor the principle of imaginative play. Of which the Montessori belief discourages against.

Montessori is without a doubt an unconventional philosophy that is nothing short of a culture shock to any parent that was raised with the Western adage of instant gratification. Not that we have everything right, because
Jul 30, 2015 Camille rated it really liked it
Useful book. It did sorta make me feel like I wasn't doing enough if my kid wasn't like making his own sandwiches by 18 months. But it was a good reminder to encourage self-determination and get my kid into routines early. We moved him to a floor bed at 16 months after he climbed out of his crib numerous times, we did elimination communication (something I'm surprised Montessori doesn't promote) and got him out of diapers much earlier than his peers. He's also fastidious about cleaning up his ow ...more
Mar 26, 2016 Ricki rated it liked it
I would recommend the engaging and practical How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way over this book. This book delves deeper into the Montessori methods and is more philosophical and dry. You have to read a lot of paragraphs on theory before you come to the useful bits--and some of the theory is far out. Looking back, I'm not really sure what I learned from this book, which is kind of a bad sign.

I really liked the sections on how to set up your house for your child to be independent, an
May 18, 2015 Zdenka rated it it was ok
I wanted to know more about Montessori methods. And yes, this book did give me a first overview of the principles and guidelines and some good ideas as to toys, play corner setup, etc... Main objective achieved, sort of.

However (and therefore the two stars), I have to agree with many criticisms on Goodreads of the tone of the book which spoils the reading for a parent. I have been tempted to throw the book away a few times after encountering some outright pedantic, moralistic, guilt inducing and
Aug 15, 2014 Casey rated it liked it
I read this book after touring a Montessori center that actually takes infants starting at 6 weeks, and has an infant/caregiver ratio of 3/1 (far exceeding the state-mandated ratio of 5/1). I didn't know much about Montessori at the time, but was shocked at the floor beds and intrigued by the independence I witnessed throughout the school. I didn't do much reading on child development before my son was born, and thought this book would fill a niche there. Great food for thought, but we definitel ...more
Feb 19, 2013 alwz rated it it was ok
The organizational structure of this book bothered me. I really wanted to like it, but I felt like the lack of coherent structure made it a difficult read. Also, the wildly inaccurate and outdated information on breastfeeding made me wonder how accurate the rest of the book was.
Feb 26, 2009 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I love this book! I've already begun implementing the changes it recommends in my family's life, and the results have been very positive.
Jun 15, 2015 Raquel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I ended up skimming a lot of this. While there are some great suggestions and philosophies in this book, it's not very concise and some of the ideas espoused as fact are not in line with what current research would suggest. In many areas, it goes on ad nauseum to the point that it's hard to filter and find the nuggets of useful suggestions.

But overall, I like some of the suggestions and think I'll pick this up and re-skim it as my kid goes through different stages of development. Like every syst
Mar 13, 2015 Becki rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, education
How and Why I Acquired This Book
After seeing this marked as “To Read” by one of my friends on Goodreads, I requested it from my library. The Montessori method (what little I know about it) is fascinating to me. Add to that the fact I have an 18-month old at home and another little one on the way, and it just seemed like a good time to read and learn more about Montessori.

This book was good if a bit overwhelming in all of its ideas and skills that apparently my toddler is already behind o
Oct 29, 2008 Jana added it
Recommends it for: everyone looking to meet your babies needs
Recommended to Jana by: I just found it
This book was great - it inspired me to create a beautiful environment for my second and third child (I did not know about it with the first). They spent tons of time wiggling around on their little floor bed looking at their handmade or nature related mobiles and at themselves in the prepared me better to know what they truly need - not all the "stuff" that we somehow think babies need - just the very few basics - I even tried cloth diapering for a while...I did find that it was not ...more
Nov 27, 2013 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This was my first time reading about Montessori in-depth. I liked the introduction (it was good for Montessori newbies), but at times it felt like reading a textbook. The authors did a good job explaining the basic concepts and relating them to to real-life anecdotes. My main complaint (and the reason it didn't get 5 starts) was the constant assumption that one parent would be home full-time with the child. It seems pretty unrealistic to expect this, and it wasn't really addressed until the last ...more
Mar 02, 2013 Veronika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childcare-theory
This book has good instructions on the care and Montessori environment for newborn and toddlers. Especially good are the suggestions on how to organize the environment for infants and later for young toddlers. Best idea was to allow the young toddler to work alongside with you. Infants explore the environment, toddlers are ready to work.

I miss three concepts that are not originally Montessorian, but I believe could be implemented.

Breastfeeding/feeding on demand (and not on schedule as the book
Mar 05, 2012 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, kindle
Wish I'd read this at least a year ago, because I think some of the principles here would've been useful for helping my (now-three-year-old) son through his twos. I'd learned a small amount about Montessori in college, and remembered liking the theory then. This book goes into the theory, but also gives some practical applications. I found reading it a little tedious, but that's partly because I was reading the Kindle version on my phone, bits & pieces at a time. I think it would've been eas ...more
Sep 07, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good introduction to Montessori ideas and principles. I know some people did not like it because it didn't give a really in depth presentation of Montessori ideas, but that was not what I was looking for. The book goes through various aspects of an early (birth to age three) Montessori education. It was a general overview and, if you are new to the ideas like I am, it's a great starting point. I didn't want anything too in depth or too dense like Maria Montessori's own works.
Aug 30, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschool
Again I agree with many of the philosophies of Montessori education however I struggle with how to incorporate them into my own home. I really like the goal of assisting the child in their natural quest for independence as part of their self formation. It is interesting to learn about the developmental stages that Montessori lays out. It helps me to look for these stages in my own children to be able to assist them as best I can. This book gives some sound advice as well as some advice that may ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Christine rated it it was ok
Although this book is based on some good principles (for example, the idea that we should allow our children to engage more meaningfully in household activities), it also includes others that I find quite troubling. In particular, I found its approach to be inconsistent with attachment parenting to an extent that I worry could be damaging to the baby's well-being and to the parent-child relationship. I found the tone of the book to be quite judgmental, and like many parenting books, its rigid pr ...more
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“Montessori called the child under six years old "a sensorial explorer" and based her educational approach for the child's early years upon the child's learning through the senses.” 2 likes
“adult’s role is to “teach children limits with love or the world will teach them without it.” 2 likes
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