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The Absorbent Mind

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,107 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
In response to the crisis in American education, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation have adopted the timeless Montessori Method of teaching, of which this book is the cornerstone. Written by the women whose name is synonymous worldwide with child development theory, The Absorbent Mind takes its title from the phrase that the inspired Itali ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 15th 1995 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1949)
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Mar 16, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents and teachers especially
Excellent book. Maria Montessori's insight and genius astounds me to no end. This is my second favorite of the books I've read of hers (for adult readers) so far, after "The Secret of Childhood." I do not feel up to writing much of a review beyond that, however, so I will jump straight to my favorite quotes, which hopefully will speak for the book more than well enough themselves:

“...the child becomes a great walker and has the need to go for very long walks. Usually, we either carry him or put
كندة الحملي
أعظم شيء لمسته بالكتاب هو تواضع ماريا وقربها للقارئ، وصلتني الأفكار بعفوية ورقي أكثر من باقي المصادر التي تعلمت منها عن مونتيسوري (مع العلم أن المصادر كانت رائعة أشخاصاً ومقالات لكن دائماً صاحب العلم الحقيقي هو الأكثر تواضعاً وقرباً للمثالية الواقعية لا المثالية النظرية..) .. الكتاب يعطي نظرة عامة عن فكر مونتيسوري تجاه الطفل بشكل عام وتجاه تكون شخصيته ونموه بشكل أكثر خصوصية.. يربطه بالعالم ويفسر لنا لم نفعل كل هذا مع الطفل؟؟ لم نؤمن بهذه القيم ونحارب كي نطبقها معه؟؟

مدخل رائع لفكر مونتيسوري لا ي
Kim Harrison
Maria Montessori was a revolutionary educational philosopher. This book, a collection of speeches made in India in the 1940's, is the last in which she expounds upon the pedagogical methodology and philosophy that she introduced to the world in her seminal book, The Montessori Method. In The Absorbent Mind, with missionary zeal, she espouses ideas that are firmly rooted in Enlightenment Era thinking as well as the emerging sciences of psychology and embryology. Borrowing heavily from Rousseau, H ...more
Oct 14, 2012 Shell rated it it was amazing
Written from India after the Second World War there is a change in Dr Montessori's view of human nature. She is less optimistic of the goodness of man and works instead for a peaceful education. She believed, and was likely correct, that if we are to end man's destruction of man, then we need an educational philosophy based on cooperation rather than competition.
May 04, 2009 Toni rated it it was ok
I like the premise behind the book but it was hard for me to read - like pulling myself through mud. Great philosophy, brilliant woman, but not pleasure reading . . . don't attempt to read if you're tired!
Feb 05, 2011 lconnor rated it it was amazing
This book has been loaned out AGAIN. A friend from North Carolina just returned the book: Teaching Montessori in the Home by Hainstock; a good book; but I like the feel of reading Maria Montessori. Quoting from The Absorbent Mind:" ...Instead, the child undergoes a transformation. Impressions do not merely enter his mind; they form it. They incarnate themselves into him. The child creates his own 'mental muscles,' using for this what he finds in the world about him. We have named this type of me ...more
Amy Pilkington
The book that started the Montessori movement. Brilliant idea and philosophy but challenging to process. The style of writing is full of optimism and metaphors that make it deep nonfiction reading, but essential if you want to understand the Montessori approach to education.
Feb 21, 2011 Renne rated it it was amazing
A fascinating window into the minds of children. Montessori was a genius. I cant help but think our schools would be in a lot better shape if we would've gotten on board with her 100 years ago!
Nohemi Lugo
Apr 09, 2013 Nohemi Lugo rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book, a must for every new parent!
Erik Akre
Feb 10, 2016 Erik Akre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: child-development professionals, Montessori preschool guides
Shelves: education, montessori
Considered a classic in Montessori circles. The book explains Montessori's developmental theory, especially (and almost exclusively) from ages of 3-6, the ages of her "Children's House." The ideas are compelling, especially in that they play themselves out well in experience with children these ages. There are a number of good points made about Development in general: what people need as they grow, and how these needs are different in different stages, and what may happen if the needs are not me ...more
May 16, 2015 Talia rated it liked it
As the happy product of a Montessori education and the parent of a new baby myself, I was interested in Montessori's own words on her educational approach. I'm glad I made the effort to get through the book, because the most interesting and relevant chapters (for what I wanted to learn about) were the last 10 or so. The book is weighted down by the pseudo-science in the first few chapters, which tries very hard to establish some basic comparisons with child development and cell development/embry ...more
Joseph Harris
The Montessori method revolutionized how children were educated. The Montessori method is characterized by an emphasis on self-directed activity on the part of the child, using specialized materials that are presented very precisely by the teacher. It stresses the importance of adapting the child's learning environment to his or her developmental level, and of the role of physical activity in absorbing abstract concepts and practical skills. Collected here in this 3-in-1 omnibus edition are Mari ...more
I like this translation, it seems more readable.

After rereading this book, I was amazed how much new information I found.

I did not realize Montessori supported prolonged breastfeeding and babywearing and natural childbirth:

pg. 68 on newborn's experiencing fear: "When, in the first hours of life, they are dipped rapidly into a bath..."
protective instinct of the mother to press her child to her bosom to protect from light
pg. 69 "The human mother's protective instincts is not so strong [as animals
Jan 18, 2013 Sacha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been told that this is a primary text for Montessori certification. At least at one program.

There were some really wonderful bits, but overall I did not enjoy it as much as The Montessori Method.

In this book there are several comparisons of humans and animals. I think that viewpoint might have been in vogue at the time the book was written, but I found it strange. I also found strange that there are frequent Biblical quotations. While I appreciate Dr Montessori's sometimes heady flights
Margaret Cortona
I'm embarrassed that I'm just now reading this book cover to cover. I acquiesce some bias, but I believe it to be one of the most important books of all time.

p. 219: "The greatest danger lies in our ignorance. We know how to find pearls in the shells of oysters, gold in the mountains and coal in the bowels of the earth, but we are unaware of the creative nebulae that the child hides in himself when he enters our world to renew mankind."


"If salvation is to come, it will come from the children,
Alexandra Sendoya
Oct 13, 2015 Alexandra Sendoya rated it really liked it
Un muy buen libro, de fácil y entretenida lectura. La forma en la que aborda el estudio de esa "mente absorbente" del niño en su crecimiento y evolución natural, es bien interesante. Pensar, estudiar al sujeto como parte de la naturaleza y en equilibrio con esta para entenderlo mejor y ayudarlo, en su evolución natural, mediante la experimentación activa con su ambiente. Desarrollándose en y a través del contacto con este para su progresiva independencia. Recomiendo.
Apr 26, 2009 Lisa is currently reading it
This was recommended to me many times by Yon's aunt (even when I was pregnant, and I am finally reading it now - 2 years later), and so far is very interesting, and I've just had a hard time getting through some of the scientific explanations of how DNA and everything works. I am just tired and start to zone out, and I can't wait to get to the parts that actually apply to how I can be a great mom and teacher, and for the parts that might give advice on what are good things to do with children an ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
This is not my typical 5* book. It is a book that must be chewed through like a text book. It can be really dry at times. That said, I found myself thinking constantly as I read, (especially during the second half), how badly I wished somebody had introduced me to the work of Maria Montessori prior to having children. This book is magnificent and has deeply changed they way I consider children. The methods she used and the discoveries she made concerning children are so inspirational and helpful ...more
Sharina SM
Jun 16, 2015 Sharina SM rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant! It's amazing to know how there are unconscious learnings that shape your life and make you who you are. Again goes to show how fragile and important childhood is.
Deborah Duke
Apr 06, 2013 Deborah Duke rated it liked it
Shelves: becpl, nonfiction
The Montessori Method has always seemed a bit mysterious to me so I wanted to go back to its origin. Maria Montessori was clearly a very talented woman, and I really enjoyed reading her perspective. I don't agree with everything, but there is still much that can be applied to education today. My favorite concept is that true freedom of choice occurs only within a framework of discipline and order.

A note to prospective readers: Much of this book is concerned with the child from birth to age six.
Russell George
Oct 04, 2015 Russell George rated it it was amazing
An amazing intro to Montessori's theory. The concept of self construction is amazing and makes so much sense!
Deborah Byfield Nyberg
Jun 26, 2015 Deborah Byfield Nyberg rated it it was amazing
Montessori's observations and studies of child development are fascinating and inspirational!
Alaine Davis
Feb 10, 2016 Alaine Davis rated it liked it
Dr. Montessori has a lot of great anecdotes and analogies in her books. Sometimes these translate beautifully through the decades and Italian; other times I get a bit lost in the flowery, non-empirical language. Some fascinating ideas to consider, either way.
I'm blaming the translation for this one; it was a free Kindle book, so I doubt very highly that the translation was any good, leaving me with clunky and weird sentences and struggling through with less-than-optimum levels of real comprehension of what Montessori was trying to say. Anyway, it wasn't horrible or anything, and I love the ideas presented herein.
Sep 27, 2011 Catherine rated it really liked it
This book focused more on the science behind the theory of Montessori. It was a little harder to get through this book because it was so heavy in science details and I found myself having to go back a little bit in the book every time I picked it up. However, it was extremely interesting! I would highly recommend this to my friends who are curious about reasons for why Maria Montessori created her method and have an interest or passion in biology or psychology.
Apr 11, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Montessori understands a lot about humans, especially compared to many other humans who write books about small humans. I really like her ideas of having children engaged in play that is doing what their parents do in little size. That is what Abner (my little boy) really wants. The only reason he is really interested at all in his own toys is that we (the adults) sometimes play with them.
Mar 05, 2010 Janae rated it it was amazing
I love the Montessori method and all that it tried to accomplish. However, I found myself disagreeing with some of her arguments on a young child's mind and how once absorbed it can not be changed.

I loved the last several chapters. For those just getting into Montessori and hate biology and socialogy I would recommend skipping the first half of the book.
Feb 01, 2008 Lynde rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents of school-aged kids
thought provoking. most things i disagreed with, until my son started in a montessori school...then i realized that maybe she knew what she was talking about. there is something to say about experience. of course there are some disagreeable things. i still have a difficult time not allowing any "fantasy", but i have figured a way to work with this.
Oct 29, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing
We forget that imagination is a force for the discovery if truth. 177

. . . There is one thing the teacher must never do and that is, to interfere by praising a child's work, or punishing him if it is wrong, or even by correcting his mistakes . . . If a child has to be rewarded or punished, it means he lacks the capacity to guide himself. 245

Feb 13, 2014 Cate rated it it was amazing
The vein of gold appeared halfway through, and the rest was an embarrassing wealth of riches. Educational philosophy at its finest.
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Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, philosopher, humanitarian and devout Catholic; she is best known for her philosophy and the Montessori method of education of children from birth to adolescence. Her educational method is in use today in a number of public as well as private schools throughout the world.
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“Great tact and delicacy is necessary for the care of the mind of a child from three to six years, and an adult can have very little of it.” 5 likes
“If salvation and help are to come, it is through the child ; for the child is the constructor of man.” 4 likes
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