Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Montessori Resources & Recommendations

I often get asked what Montessori books, blogs and resource sites I would recommend. Here's my current list, but check back on this post now and then (see sidebar for a quick link) because I will continue to update it as I find new information to add. Please note, this is by no means a complete list of Montessori resources, but simply a list of things I've found helpful during my journey into Montessori.

You can buy any of these on Amazon.com. My top three favorite Montessori books are:
  • How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin
  • Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under Fives, by David Gettman
  • Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities For You and Your Child, by Maja Pitamic
More books I enjoyed reading:
  • The Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori
  • Montessori Play and Learn: A Parent's Guide to Purposeful Play for Ages Two to Six, by Lesley Britton
  • A Parent's Guide to the Montessori Classroom, by Alline D. Wolf
  • Montessori in the Classroom: A Teacher's Account of How Children Really Learn, by Paul Polk Lillard
  • Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook, by Maria Montessori
  • Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years, by Elizabeth Hainstock
Two other books I highly recommend were written by former Montessori teacher, John Bowman. You can purchase both of his books via his website.
  • Montessori At Home! (e-book)
  • Help Your Preschooler Build A Better Brain

  • Onlinedegrees put together a fantastic list of The Top 50 Must-Read Montessori Blogs, and I added several of my favorite Montessori blogs to that list in this post.
  • The NAMC Teacher Training blog is an excellent resource as well.
I have purchased Montessori materials from each of the following online stores:
  • Montessori n' Such - just like the site name implies, this store is full of Montessori materials as well as other non-Montessori learning materials. This is my go to place for Practical Life kits.
  • Montessori Services - here you'll find everything you need to create a prepared environment.
  • Alison's Montessori - a discount store that offers both expensive (high quality) or economical versions of Montessori materials.
  • Montessori Outlet - a decent selection of basic materials at affordable prices.
  • Polliwog Learning Products - this is an Etsy store where I purchased some lovely handmade sandpaper letters.
  • Gonzagarredi - this is the company that made the very first Montessori materials for Dr. Montessori. They are expensive, but the quality is superb.
  • Kid Advance
I've not purchased anything from these locations, so I can't personally recommend them, but I have heard good things:
I also want to make a special mention about Zodiworks. Here you'll find something truly special - hard cover reader books with illustrations by none other than the lovely and uber peaceful, Montessori Mama.

Practical Life:

I have the most fun searching for Practical Life materials. This is where you get really creative and look for possibilities in unlikely places. Aside from purchasing the occasional kit, as I mentioned above, I tend to create my own activities and look for the materials at thrift stores, garage sales, craft stores, the dollar store, even pet shops! It's funny how you start to see places like the hardware store as a mecca for Practical Life! You can see photos of my trays by clicking on the slideshow on the sidebar.

Online Resources:

Here are some pictures of what a REAL and properly prepared Montessori environment looks like:
  • Now known as Sew Liberated, check out Montessori By Hand's photostream
  • Austin Montessori School
  • I hope to be visiting the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in December and you can bet I'll take some pictures while I'm there. Stay tuned because I'll post a link to my Flickr photostream here.
  • I've pinned several Montessori classroom images on my "Shelves" Board on Pinterest. You can find that by clicking here >> Follow Me on Pinterest.
  • Margaret Homfray was a student and colleague of Dr. Montessori. Click here to view the series of her instructional videos. Be warned, they are very dry and a bit tedious to watch, but they are, of course, very educational.
  • There are many other informational and how-to Montessori videos on YouTube as well.
Spread the word and share the love of Montessori by becoming a Montessori teacher!

  • Click here, here, and here for a list of training centers and affiliations. I must point out that becoming a Montessori teacher by way of true, hands-on training is neither easy nor cheap - it requires several weeks, sometimes months (over the course of a year or two) of on site training, a college degree, excellent references, and anywhere from $8,000-$10,000 in tuition. Had I known about Montessori prior to having children, I would have enrolled in this type of training in a heartbeat.
  • Because traditional Montessori training is no longer an option for me, I'm taking an online teacher's training course through the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). I highly recommend this course. I hope to supplement this training by interning at our local Montessori school.
  • Good to read: Lori, from Montessori For Everyone, hosted an informative Q&A with the two major online training centers.


erin said...

Thanks for these resources. My husband and I are on an education journey. We have a deep desire for our children to think freely, artfully, and outside the box. I've been reading online a lot about the waldorf and montessori teachings, and have been looking to get additional resources. This is perfect. Thanks.

montessori_lori said...

Thanks for your kind words, and for coming by my blog! So glad the online training is working out for you. Thanks again.

Alone in Holy Land said...

OMG, thasnk you for this great source of info about all things Montessori.
I'll start checking them as soon as Maya will feel better.

Montessori Beginnings said...

Awesome. Thanks for doing all of the work. People have been asking me for a list as well so I'm just going to send them over here. Hehe! The only other book that I found really fantastic and really want to buy was Montessori Read and Write: A Parent's Guide to Literacy for Children by Lynne Lawrence.
Another book I found at a library in England that is a bit ancient but I found totally inspiring is The Montessori Revolution in Education. In this book the author talks about the Montessori Method at work in classrooms as if he is trying to convince the reader. It got me all excited once again about Montessori.

Patty said...

I am so glad that I discovered another Montessori blog. Thanks for all the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

What a terrific list of resources - well done! We'd love to add you to our blogroll and please, drop into our store www.montessoriprintshop.com for our Free Montessori materials each month. Again, great work spreading the word about Montessori!

Christine said...

Hi, I really enjoy your blog. I have not officially adopted any "educational philosophy", but I love the activities that you do and they are just the type of thing I'd like to do. I have had a couple questions for a while and I don't know where to ask so I chose here, hope that's ok!
1) What age did you start Montessori activities? I have the "Teach Me to Do It Myself" book and I've had "How To Raise an Amazing Child ..." from the library. Both start the activities around age 2. So what do you do prior to that? My son is 16 months. He's learning some letters, so I think he's capable in some ways, but I don't think he's ready to understand taking out one activity at a time.
2) What role do these activities play in your day? Are these activities the only things you do? Or does James have other playtime with "regular" toys (sorry, can't think of a better word for it).
Thanks; sorry if I'm too off topic!

Counting Coconuts said...

Hi all, thanks so much for your lovely comments!

Christine, I'd be more than happy to shop talk Montessori with you and to offer you my two cents - please email me directly (mmwidhalm@yahoo.com) so we can chat a bit more easily. :) In the meantime, I'm happy to answer both of your questions here...
1) I started Montessori with James when he was about 2 1/4 years old. I had *just* found out about it at that point. For my next child, however, I intend to introduce Montessori right from the beginning. There's a book I've heard of, but have not read, Montessori From the Start, by Paul Polk Lillard. It supposed to be good and I plan on checking it out when the time is relevant for us. I would say anything sensory related is the way to go for babies. Reading, music, a basket of (safe) various items to explore - these are good things to start with.
2) Depending on which day of the week it is, James and I have Montessori lessons in the mornings for a couple of hours. I always take his lead though and I never force activities or school time on him. Thankfully, he's always quite interested in these kinds of things, so it's been easy to teach him. He absolutely has "normal" :) toys and non-Montessori play time. We spend A LOT of time outside and going to various activities/events around the island. While we do have a few plastic toys, I tend to lean toward toys and materials that are handmade/homemade and all natural just because I think they're safer and more enjoyable to play with.

Hope that helps, and again, feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions!

Mari-Ann :)

maiDerin said...

I have been following you since last week and I'm so happy with that! I am a very new mum (3-months)! I wanna follow montessori philosophy and that's why I'm in love with your blog! 3-months age may be seen a bit earlier but I think the earlier the better! I use mirrors for self-determination activity and "black-white images" to make him concentrate on things around him. Do you have any advice for me to do with my baby? It will be very useful for me! Thank you very much for sharing whatever you practice with us! Best wishes!

twolittleseeds said...

I have just found your blog. I love it. Especially all the sensory tubs...wow thanks for sharing! x

twolittleseeds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The girl who painted trees said...

Mari-Ann, I'm curious to know what you ordered from the Gonzagarredi site.

Counting Coconuts said...

Julie, I ordered our moveable alphabet from Gonzagarredi. Excellent quality.

Elle Belles Bows said...

Hi Mari-Ann! I am in an organizing mode right now. So, I popped over to your blog to get some ideas for buying some Montessori materials. I have read this section before but it is so helpful that you keep it in your sidebar. Thanks! Take care, Kerri

Lisa Glowacka said...

I just happened across your blog and I'm so happy I did!

My 5 year old went to a montessori preschool and my 4 year old is currently there and we love it! I wish I had the time to set up their playroom to coincide with the montessori classroom. I love that your website has ideas for activities at home :) Thank you for sharing.

Freedom said...

I so wish I had found your blog last summer. I am doing to have to spend a few days going through your blog to find some things to do with my 3yr old this summer. She has had a very long and trying year in her Montessori classroom, though has learned so much. Will be hoping that with some careful planning we can avoid a whole lot of back sliding and start next year off on a much better foot.

Freedom said...

I so wish I had found your blog last summer. I am going to have to spend a few days going through your blog to find some things to do with my 3yr old this summer. She has had a very long and trying year in her Montessori classroom, though has learned so much. Will be hoping that with some careful planning we can avoid a whole lot of back sliding and start next year off on a much better foot.

Лёлишна said...

У меня трое детей и нам очень нравится система Монтессори. У вас в блоге очень много замечательных идей. Просто кладезь вдохновения. Удачи Вам!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I am wondering what you use or plan to use to teach your kids the Montessori was after age 6 also thanks for posting your daily schedule. Really helpful but my question is how to you know what to teach and how much of a topic for how long. My daughter is 6 this is our first year. You are my guru.

Hang said...

Hi Mari-Ann,

Here is your new blog fan from Vietnam :)

I found your blog when reading comments under an article by Lori's montessoryforeveryone. And I must say reading your blog was the highlight of my evening (after my 2 year old son went to bed). This post, in particular is sooo helpful. I even purchased the ebook that you recommended a few hours ago (Montessori at home by John Bowman) and enjoyed reading so much that I didn't even want to go to bed.

You mentioned in Lori's blog that you did an online Montessori training course with NAMC. I would like to take the program too, but I wonder if I can do it in 2-3 months (instead of 7 months). What do you think? And do you think the training is worthwhile?

Thank you very much and I look forward to exploring more on Montessori through your blog and the resources you recommended.


Counting Coconuts said...

Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate your feedback. :)

@Kevin, Sonya, et al.: You're very kind - I've never been someone's guru before. :D We've already begun to integrate non-Montessori teaching methods into our schooltime and I suspect we'll keep on that path - doing a mish mash of whatever works for us - for as long as we need to. As to how I know what to teach and for how long, well, I took a Montessori training course and will sometimes look to my manuals for guidance, but mostly I follow my son's cues. When he's particularly interested in something I make an effort to create a theme and tasks in that vein and I stick with that topic until he's no longer interested. When he's clearly mastered something, I move on.

@Hang: your comment made me smile - I'm so glad you've been inspired while reading my blog. :) Yes, I did take the NAMC course and I loved it and I do believe it was worthwhile. I do NOT think you could finish the course in 2-3 months. There's A LOT of reading and writing involved, and unless it's all you plan to do, I just don't think it's wise to try to cram all of that information into such a short period of time. If you're able to, take the 6-7 months it takes to complete it comfortably and enjoy the process - I found it to be really rewarding.

Hope that helps!

Hang said...

Thanks a lot Mari-Ann for your feedback. It's really helpful! In case your readers have the same question, I just checked with NAMC and they said that I have up to 18 months to finish the online training, and the minimum time frame they allow for completion is six weeks (which will require full-time commitment).

S. Seagraves said...

I have a 14-yo daughter who really would have benefited from a Montessori education, but didn't get it. She is my 2nd child and by the time I realized that the education she was getting wasn't working for her, she was already in her teens. By the time I realized what *would* have worked for her and prepared her better for life, well, that would be now. She'll be 15 in March. Is it too late for her to start a Montessori approach in a homeschool environment to complete high school? If it's not too late, do you know of any resources that would work for starting at this stage? Or what to do as an alternative if Montessori is not the way to go? Thanks so much for your advice. I love your website, btw!


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