One of my dearest friends recently asked me, “What are some books or materials that you would recommend for new parents?” I immediately thought, “What a great idea for a blog post!” So here we are.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, we already knew that we wanted to raise our children in the Montessori philosophy. I had completed my training and spent years teaching, but my husband didn’t know much about it at all. These are the books I made my husband read:
- The Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori (not pictured, because I can’t find it! I think somebody borrowed it from me.)
Maria Montessori wrote many books and kept extensive journals of her studies, but this is the one that I really love. This book lays out the key points of the Montessori philosophy and how Maria Montessori developed her method of education through years of study. It is not an easy read, but it is worth it.
2. Understanding the Human Being: The Importance of the First Three Years of Life, by Silvana Quattrocchi Montanero, M.D.
This book is pretty old, but many parts of it are still relevant today. The author is a medical doctor who served as the Director of Assistants to Infancy (0-3 years) Training Programs of the A.M.I. (Association Montessori Internationale) in Rome, Denver, Mexico, and London. She begins the book with a discussion of prenatal development and goes all the way through the first three years. Montanero provides many practical ideas of how to raise your child the Montessori way, in topics such as attachment to parents, breastfeeding, weaning, movement, independence, language, and many others. Although it has a lot of very practical advice, the book weaves within it many spiritual elements that help inform the why of the practices she suggests for home. My book is all marked up with post-it notes on the parts I especially wanted my husband to pay attention to.
3. What to Expect the First Year, by Heidi Murkoff with Sharon Mazel
There are many books out there about milestones your baby should be reaching and how to care for them at every stage, but this one is my favorite. It’s my favorite because it understands, as Montessori does, that each child is different. Some children reach milestones earlier than the average child, and some children reach milestones later than the average child — in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter when exactly your child starts rolling over/sitting up/crawling/walking. This book goes through what you can expect each month, with the understanding that all babies are different. For each month, it lists, “By ____ months, your baby… should be able to:” “…will probably be able to:” and “…may even be able to.”*
4. The World of the Child: A Fable for Parents, by Aline D. Wolf
This might be my favorite book of all time. It is very short and written as a fictional narrative about a father who finds himself suddenly in a world that is much too big for him. He realizes that this is the way his toddler son must see the world, and the way he interacts with his child changes dramatically. This book will really make you stop and think as you hurry your child along or expect him to do tasks which are actually quite difficult for him without making a mess. If you only read one of the books on this list, make it this one!
Honorable Mention: How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way. by Tim Seldin (not pictured)
I’ve already recommended this book on here, so it is only getting an honorable mention today. This book provides at-home activities and environmental design for children from birth to age 6, although I think it focuses more on the later ages. The best thing about this book is the beautiful pictures!
*If you are concerned that your baby is really not meeting milestones soon enough or is not meeting them at all, talk to your pediatrician.