The Montessori Toddler
Score: 5/5 Bookmarks
Please note: Workman Publishing sent me a free review copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.
My mother was a Montessori teacher, and I grew up in that environment. But if you had asked me to explain what it was I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it. Cue The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies. I was sent a review copy by Workman Publishing, and having a two-year-old daughter the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!
I am always looking for ways to help our daughter learn and grow in ways that are fun for her. I recently became curious about Montessori again and wondered what things I could be doing to help set my daughter up to be successful in school and her future life. Simone’s book starts by giving a wonderful introduction to Montessori, what it is, the history, and why it can be so beneficial to toddlers.
In subsequent chapters the book walks you through how to introduce Montessori activities to children, and what actually makes an activity Montessori in the first place. You learn a variety of activities to help with hand-eye coordination, practical life skills, language, arts and crafts etc.
The Montessori Toddler also provides you with tips for setting up Montessori-style spaces for your little one to get the most out of activities and develop some independence.
There is a lot of useful information on setting boundaries on behavior while encouraging children to express and understand their full range of emotions. Along with some tips (that I found extremely useful) on how to encourage particular behavior without using threats, bribes or punishments.
The book wraps up with some real-world examples of families using Montessori at home. These were wonderfully presented and really rounded out the theory you learn in the book.
The Appendix at the back is full of useful resources on helpful things to say to your child, where to find good Montessori materials and furniture, what to look for in a school, a list of Montessori activities for toddlers etc.
In summary, I found this book incredibly informative and useful. Plus it’s designed beautifully and laid out in a way that makes it a real pleasure to read.
I also discovered that the author has a useful blog full of additional resources and articles which you can find at The Montessori Notebook.
There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about Montessori and I’ve witnessed people confusing it with Waldorf, which in my opinion couldn’t be more different. Waldorf seems to be more popular here in the Pacific Northwest than anywhere else I’ve ever lived, and each to their own, but it’s not for me. Here are the main differences as I understand them for the younger age groups (please feel free to add your two cents in the comments if you’re well versed in either methodology):
Focuses on real-world skills:
- food preparation
- scooping and pouring
- dressing skills
- cutting and pasting
Children choose their activities, the teacher provides an individual lesson. Then each activity is packed away by the child after use.
Children are introduced to language, reading, math and reasoning principles early.
Music and art are included each day.
Outdoor physical games are designed to increase hand-eye and foot-eye coordination.
WALDORF / STEINER
Make-believe and imagination activities make up a large part of the day.
Children are introduced to academic subjects, reading and writing at a much later age (usually six or seven).
Most activities are group-based with the teacher leading.
Music and art make up a larger part of the curriculum.
Large portions of the day are spent outside.
I recently met the founder of MontiKids — a service where you can buy Montessori equipment for home use, based on the age of your child.
We’re onto our second kit with our daughter and not only does she LOVE the well-made pieces but I’ve never seen her engage with any other toys that she has for as long or as diligently. And watching her pack each one up and put it away when she’s ready to move onto something else makes me so incredibly proud! I’m not an affiliate, but I’m happy to tell anyone and everyone about them, I love them so much!