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

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,998 ratings  ·  236 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
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Jun 06, 2012 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
Jan 11, 2009 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
Aug 03, 2012 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
Melanie Gibbs
Nov 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: parenting
While Montessori has a great approach for toddlers and young children, when it comes to caring for an infant this book is a recipe for severe postpartum depression. It has all the hallmarks of a typical parenting book- full of mom-guilting tirades about everything from natural birth to breastfeeding to sleep options- with the addition of this helpful advice:

- Don't pick up your kid or hold them, almost ever. Bonding must be limited to diaper changes and breastfeeding.
- Awake time should be spent
Jun 11, 2009 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
Ashlyn Hunt
Mar 07, 2013 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
Julie McDonald
Dec 11, 2008 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
Mar 01, 2009 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 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
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Started off with a good overview of the Montessori method but then got repetitive and overly specific for my needs. Overall, the first few chapters are a good primer for anyone curious about the method and the philosophy behind it.
Jun 12, 2014 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
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Who does not know that to teach a child to feed himself, to wash and dress himself, is a much more tedious and difficult work, calling for infinitely greater patience, than feeding, washing and dressing the child oneself? But, the former is the work of an educator; the latter is the easy and inferior work of a servant.” — Dr. Maria Montessori (1912)

Tremendously inspiring. A dear friend and respected mother with a master’s degree in early childhood education recommended this book to me, and I am
Inês Ferreira
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
To be honest, I chose not to read the book entirely, because it seems to me that there is a subtle tone of encouragement to respect the childs needs -only- when they meet our sense of independence achivement, from the day baby is born.

The problem is, independence comes from a place of secure attatchement, and the authors seem to forget to mention that at all.

It was clear to me that the potencial nice ideias about the montessori methods weren’t worth the dangerous tips implying she should stay al
Dec 02, 2013 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
Nov 21, 2015 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
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Great book that gives you some practical tips as well as provides with a solid mind frame how to introduce Montessori principles into your child's life. I am not a Montessori fanatic, but I think that its accent on child's independence, focus, and concentrated work is something that every mindful parent should look into and adapt for her own child and home environment.
Anne Rowley
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Heavy on judgment, light on actual practical help which is why I wanted to read it. I hope I never meet the authors and have them gasp at the lack of a "small cleaver" in my just-turned-two little girl's hand, because then I would have to sucker punch them.
Feb 16, 2009 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.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Montessori and RIE have a lot of overlap with the shared themed of respect, but Montessori asks you to be a lot more involved in steering their education. It can feel a bit much at times for young babies, but the sections here that talk about how to get started on teaching them to dress themselves and help with household tasks, those seem like they'll be really useful.

tl;dr is that all tasks can be broken down into orderly small steps to match where their skills are currently at and the process
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain
An introduction to Montessori principles applied to the very young, and practical developmental milestones and exercises in preparation for the childhood-long self-formation goals of Montessori education. The organization of the book into functional categories leads to some repetition of the timeline, but this is part of what makes it an effective demonstration of the philosophy.
Andreea Lucau
I got the hang of what is the 'Montessori spirit' from this book. I also gain some insights into how the baby then toddler brain works.
Still, it took me a while to get started. I am not sure who the target audience for the book is, but as a mom with no education background I found it hard to get started reading the book.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
As evidenced from the title, this book offers information on how to raise a child in a Montessori environment from birth through the toddler years. While there was certainly a host of helpful information here, I felt the authors came across as somewhat pretentious and judgmental. But in spite of the cringing I felt in several passages, I found it helpful to see better how to engage my children, how to help foster independence, and how to think creatively about what I give them to play with and h ...more
Abandoned a few pages in.
May 15, 2015 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
Mar 02, 2013 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
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I wish I could give this 4.5 stars. I am a big fan of the Montessori method and this book really went into the philosophy behind it. I loved the ideas about helping children grow by living a simpler life. One of my favorite quotes from the book is this thought-provoking statement:

"As parents and grandparents, we think that we are showing children that we love them by giving them things. In fact such practice, in and of itself, may send them the wrong message. Children may conclude that if peopl
Mar 08, 2012 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
Oct 29, 2008 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
Oct 21, 2010 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
Shira and Ari Evergreen
Dec 08, 2015 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
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