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Montessori Madness!: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

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We know we need to improve our traditional school system, both public and private. But how? More homework? Better-qualified teachers? Longer school days or school years? More testing? More funding? No, no, no, no, and no. Montessori Madness! explains why the incremental steps politicians and administrators continue to propose are incremental steps in the wrong direction. T We know we need to improve our traditional school system, both public and private. But how? More homework? Better-qualified teachers? Longer school days or school years? More testing? More funding? No, no, no, no, and no. Montessori Madness! explains why the incremental steps politicians and administrators continue to propose are incremental steps in the wrong direction. The entire system must be turned on its head. This book asks parents to take a look one thirty-minute observation at a Montessori school. Your picture of what education should look like will never be the same. Montessori Madness! follows one family with young children on their journey of determination, discovery, and delight. Learn the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Montessori education. This book makes an aggressive, humorous, and passionate case for a brilliant method of education that has received too little attention, very likely because it is based on a revolutionary, dangerous, and shocking concept: children love to learn!


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We know we need to improve our traditional school system, both public and private. But how? More homework? Better-qualified teachers? Longer school days or school years? More testing? More funding? No, no, no, no, and no. Montessori Madness! explains why the incremental steps politicians and administrators continue to propose are incremental steps in the wrong direction. T We know we need to improve our traditional school system, both public and private. But how? More homework? Better-qualified teachers? Longer school days or school years? More testing? More funding? No, no, no, no, and no. Montessori Madness! explains why the incremental steps politicians and administrators continue to propose are incremental steps in the wrong direction. The entire system must be turned on its head. This book asks parents to take a look one thirty-minute observation at a Montessori school. Your picture of what education should look like will never be the same. Montessori Madness! follows one family with young children on their journey of determination, discovery, and delight. Learn the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Montessori education. This book makes an aggressive, humorous, and passionate case for a brilliant method of education that has received too little attention, very likely because it is based on a revolutionary, dangerous, and shocking concept: children love to learn!

30 review for Montessori Madness!: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book is good for those familiar with Montessori to gain a better understanding of how the Montessori method reaches its goals. However, the author seems quite heavy-handed with conventional education based on his own experiences decades ago. That is not to say his critiques are completely invalid, but his argument is far less convincing because it is based on old anecdotes rather than contemporaneous observations. Additionally, the author spends an inordinate amount of time using unrelated This book is good for those familiar with Montessori to gain a better understanding of how the Montessori method reaches its goals. However, the author seems quite heavy-handed with conventional education based on his own experiences decades ago. That is not to say his critiques are completely invalid, but his argument is far less convincing because it is based on old anecdotes rather than contemporaneous observations. Additionally, the author spends an inordinate amount of time using unrelated analogies to the point of distraction. The book is at its best in its descriptions of the Montessori method and its strengths, but I probably would not recommend it to anyone who has not already chosen Montessori for their children, which sort of misses the point.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Wow! As an educator and a veteran of public schools, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is considering schools for their children. This book caused me to take action. It gave me the motivation, that I didn't even know I was lacking, to withdraw my son from his traditional school and enroll him in Montessori. If you are the least bit dissatisfied with the educational system that is currently steering the formation of young children, then read this book. It offers a valid response to the c Wow! As an educator and a veteran of public schools, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is considering schools for their children. This book caused me to take action. It gave me the motivation, that I didn't even know I was lacking, to withdraw my son from his traditional school and enroll him in Montessori. If you are the least bit dissatisfied with the educational system that is currently steering the formation of young children, then read this book. It offers a valid response to the current political agenda that is driving education. The author, Trevor Eissler, may seem biased, at first, because he bases the book on his family's personal experience, but if you find yourself turned off by this, then just keep reading. His book provides a parent to parent discussion on the intricate, delicate, and highly-defined benefits of seeking an alternative for young children. He discusses the need for reform and offers parents a well narrated glimpse of the Montessori environment. His argument is solid and well researched. Eissler is persuasive in convincing others; he can no longer bear the weight of the "secret" that he has uncovered. I highly recommend this book and I hope that others will share their experiences.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    There were some good points, but you can't express how wonderful Montessori is by bashing public school. Montessori is a wonderful way for children to learn, but a lot also depends on their teachers, much like public school. Public school teachers have a lot more 'stuff' to deal with and sometimes I am amazed that they have enough energy to teach at all. Both systems can good and/or bad, there are a lot of factors to consider. Both of my children were educated as 'Montessori Kids' (one for 3 yea There were some good points, but you can't express how wonderful Montessori is by bashing public school. Montessori is a wonderful way for children to learn, but a lot also depends on their teachers, much like public school. Public school teachers have a lot more 'stuff' to deal with and sometimes I am amazed that they have enough energy to teach at all. Both systems can good and/or bad, there are a lot of factors to consider. Both of my children were educated as 'Montessori Kids' (one for 3 years of 'preschool' and 3 years of elementary & the other for 3 years of preschool and 6 years of elementary) and I wouldn't describe them as the Montessori children described in the book. So although I agree that Montessori is great, this book didn't do much to show & explain that, I felt the main goal was to say how bad public school is, well sorry, a lot of people don't have a choice.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    A very passionate review of Montessori methods from one parent's perspective. This book made me want to read more objective studies about the differences in teaching/learning, and hear directly from Montessori herself. I think Mr. Eissler is a little harsh on traditional schooling (many modern teachers use Montessori-type techniques these days...it's not all drill and kill as it was when he was in school) but his point still remains. Children learn a lot of hidden lessons in traditional school - A very passionate review of Montessori methods from one parent's perspective. This book made me want to read more objective studies about the differences in teaching/learning, and hear directly from Montessori herself. I think Mr. Eissler is a little harsh on traditional schooling (many modern teachers use Montessori-type techniques these days...it's not all drill and kill as it was when he was in school) but his point still remains. Children learn a lot of hidden lessons in traditional school - like how to cheat, and how to obey at all costs, how to avoid mistakes. Montessori schools seem to foster individuality and creativity, and making mistakes is part of the learning process.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Eissler's paean to Montessori education highlights the remarkable constellation of virtues: intrinsic motivation, responsibility, independence, mutual respect, creativity. Montessori works. What hurts the book's claims is the zealous indignation accompanying them. EVERY other form of of institutional education is a factory line model, avers Eissler. Assessment is worthless, experts are false priests, competition is bankrupt. Such dichotomization is beneath the Montessori way. While the book is s Eissler's paean to Montessori education highlights the remarkable constellation of virtues: intrinsic motivation, responsibility, independence, mutual respect, creativity. Montessori works. What hurts the book's claims is the zealous indignation accompanying them. EVERY other form of of institutional education is a factory line model, avers Eissler. Assessment is worthless, experts are false priests, competition is bankrupt. Such dichotomization is beneath the Montessori way. While the book is sure to motivate angsty parents, its heat overcomes its light. There are more holistic entryways into alternative education.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hadley

    A great idea to write about Montessori from a parents perspective and there is a lot of wonderful stuff in this book that helps explain, in laymen's terms, some of the ways in which a Montessori education can benefit children. Despite the fact that I have 2 children in Montessori (ages 10 and 6) and we are BIG fans of the educational philosophy, I found this book has some disappointments mostly with regard to it being amateurishly written and edited. I would still recommend a new parent read thi A great idea to write about Montessori from a parents perspective and there is a lot of wonderful stuff in this book that helps explain, in laymen's terms, some of the ways in which a Montessori education can benefit children. Despite the fact that I have 2 children in Montessori (ages 10 and 6) and we are BIG fans of the educational philosophy, I found this book has some disappointments mostly with regard to it being amateurishly written and edited. I would still recommend a new parent read this book as it does offer helpful explanations of some Montessori ideas in plan english.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Philip Fierlinger

    Explains really clearly why Montessori is such a natural and superior way for kids to learn. While demonstrating over and over why standard schooling is so unnatural and such an abysmal failure. After reading this book you'll find yourself wondering how anybody could tolerate standard schooling and why all schools don't adopt the Montessori method. One criticism I have is that some of the examples he offers and arguments he makes can sometimes be a bit simplistic or biased.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michele McNally

    I really enjoyed reading this book. My girls currently attend Montessori for elementary and primary school. I just know in my heart and soul that Montessori is the right method for us. But it was so nice to hear stories from another parent. I want to be able to explain myself to others without sounding elitist or anti-public school. I just wish everyone could go to our Montessori.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I tell everyone who might be remotely interested in Montessori education or, anyone who thinks our current educational system might need fixing, to read this book. That's when you learn just how crazy our traditional school system is and how desperately we need to change it. After all, when else other than in K-12 are we only surrounded by same age-peers? When else do we need to ask someone else's permission to take care of our own bodily functions? (Have you asked your boss lately if it's okay I tell everyone who might be remotely interested in Montessori education or, anyone who thinks our current educational system might need fixing, to read this book. That's when you learn just how crazy our traditional school system is and how desperately we need to change it. After all, when else other than in K-12 are we only surrounded by same age-peers? When else do we need to ask someone else's permission to take care of our own bodily functions? (Have you asked your boss lately if it's okay to use the bathroom or given enough autonomy to handle that on your own?). There are so many amazing things to say about this book, but I can't write them all. I can say, if you need the quick and dirty version to check out this YouTube <6 minute video that is by the book's author. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcgN0... Favorite quotations: "The Montessori philosophy asks different questions of children than their scores. Asking how a Montessori student is scoring, or is rated, or is ranked is as meaningless as the ranking for schools discussed earlier. It is just as absurd to ask, "What is your wife's score in your marriage?" or "What is your minister's sermon average this year?" (page 58). "In contrast, look at our traditional-school valedictorians. These students are the most successful conformists in the entire student body; it is what being a valedictorian means. These students are honored for making virtually zero mistakes. I don't doubt that they are extremely bright individuals, but I am disappointed that we have expected so little of them. Have we rewarded them for NOT pushing themselves to the edge of their comfort zone, to the edge of their understanding, and to the edge of their ability? Have we trained our brightest students to be risk averse? The higher a student's grades, the more he has to lose in terms of social and intellectual standing. Curiosity? Innovation? Not likely. Valedictorians have an 'A' in every class. They made a mistake on not one final exam, not one class grade. Every answer they provided was exactly what the teacher was looking for. The teacher--that adult at the front of the class from a previous generation--thought all their work excellent" (page 191). "In a traditional class, the student must sit still while all the action happens in the front of the room. In a Montessori class, the childe literally gets up and goes about the room, discovering what it is that grabs his attention, as if he was walking on a trail through a forest" (page 89). "Montessori insisted that her classroom be filled with 'real things in a real world.' She thought toys, make believe, fantasy stories, and fairy tales to be a waste of time. She found that children craved touching real objects. They wanted to discover the real uses for those objects they saw the adults around them using. She found it was often the adults who insisted on fairy tales and the like for children, rather than the children desiring to spend time dream about fantasy lands. Children want to grab what is real; they do not want to escape from their surroundings" (page 89). "Verbs are represented by spherical, red tiles (the action quality of verbs is more intuitively grasped by associating them with the shape of a ball). Nouns are black triangles: a tough, sturdy-looking share. Each part of speech has a different shape and color associated with it. The tiles symbolizing articles are light blue triangles; adjectives are dark blue triangles. Thus they are easily associated with the triangular nouns they modify. Similarly the adverb, though smaller and orange, is a circle, showing its close relation to the verb. The student places specific tiles for various parts of speech next to the corresponding words. Sentences come alive with the introduction of manipulative shapes. Then out come the scissors! Each word is cut from the paper so that the sentence can be rearranged in new ways. Complexity can be added or subtracted in an intuitive, tactile way--much superior to diagramming with mere lines on piece of paper" (page 98). "'In our system we obviously have a different concept of discipline. The discipline that we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is disciplined only when he is artificially made as silent as a mute and as motionless as a paralytic. Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated...we claim that an individual is discipline when he is the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life'" (Montessori quotation page 148). "They [children in Montessori] are not treated like adults; they are treated with a similar respect as adults. We respect adults' freedom to make choices about their actions as long as no one else is harmed. Adults have the freedom to make decisions for themselves, even if those decisions might be different from our own. Montessori children's choices are treated with the same respect as the choices of an adult. Of course if the choice leads to a breach of safety or to a socially unacceptable behavior, the teacher must immediately put a stop to it. The freedom given to these children raises eyebrows from those of used to traditional education...I just sat there and shook my head when I saw how easy and natural it was for children to stand up and walk into the bathroom when they needed to go...Do adults have to raise a hand and ask permission to go use the bathroom? Of course not. Neither do Montessori students" (page 158). "Along with the freedom to choose comes the freedom to fail...Traditional schools often consider failure the end of the story. We assume a failing score means a child can't handle the scholastics and must be put on a different track. Sometimes the response is to put a big red 'F' on the paper, hoping it will make him try harder next time. In either case, the job is done for now...In traditional schools there is a pervasive fear of ANY failure, which experienced, might lead to total and permanent failure unless an adult is there to prevent it. So, there better be a punishment system already in place, red pen poised, to save the children from this downside of freedom. Failure is viewed quite differently in Montessori. It is an essential part of a long process. It's a similar long-term perspective to those times adults say, 'Boy I really learned a lot from that experience.' In the short term, failure is a daily experience for Montessori students. In fact our school's director informed me that her teachers 'recognize that if we present a lesson to a child and he does it perfectly right away, then we've given the lesson too late!' ...they easily oscillate between failure and success, such as spelling a word incorrectly, recognizing it and correcting it themselves" (page 163). "...the child learns to control his own errors. He learns that errors are not event that happen TO him, they are events that he CAUSES to happen as he interacts with the world. They are byproducts of that interaction. He learns to accept full responsibility for the errors he makes. Traditional school, from top to bottom, fear error...Sadly the mere pointing out of his errors, either with red marks or reports cards, does him no good. No matter how red the pen, the mark does not allow him to apply self-discovered knowledge of why the error occurred--independently, at his own pace, and with concentration--to an alternate, self-chosen course of action. It's too late. He has already given to the teacher his own responsibility for searching for errors...What's scary is that it IS possible to eliminate error completely--by crushing the desire to act in the first place. Maria Montessori attempted to 'cultivate a friendly feeling towards error, to treat it as a companion inseparable from our lives, as something having a purpose, which it truly has.' Her method brings error into the light of day, removes any stigma towards it, and develops a child's sense of ownership of it. She argues, '...what matters is not so much correction in itself as that each individual should become aware of his own errors. Each should have a means of checking, so that he can tell if he is right or not.' She contrasts her 'control of error' method with the methods of traditional schools, in which children 'often have no idea that they are making mistakes. They make them unconsciously and with complete indifference, because it is not their business to correct them but the teacher's!' I am reminded of the hundreds of times I waited in suspense, wondering how I did on a test...If error is our own inseparable companion, I should know better than anyone else how I did on a test" (pages 169-171). "The teacher does not rank students. She lets each student reach his own highest potential, regardless of how his peers are performing. Ranking sports teams can be helpful; ranking children is not. There are other more effective techniques to identify how a student is doing. Simply observing the student as he works is the most obvious. Finally, the teach does not interrupt the student. This seems very strange to most of us. In traditional schools it is the student who is not allowed to interrupt the teacher! Montessori wrote, 'The great principle which brings success to the teacher is this: A soon as concentration has begun, act as if the child does not exist.' In a Montessori classroom, the whole point is to have children concentrating and functioning well as a community without any help from the teacher. Montessori children want work. They want to overcome difficulties. When a child is concentrating, he is interested, he is learning, and he is correction his own mistakes. 'The greatest sign of success for a teacher...is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.' No praising, no rewarding, no punishing, no correcting mistakes, no interrupting, no grading, no assigning homework, and not a whole lot of talking. Just was does a Montessori teacher do? (Page 200-201). "Teachers must facilitate the student's learning, not lecture them. If anyone was qualified to lecture to students from his wealth of knowledge, surely it was Albert Einstein. Yet even he was if the same opinion regarding student-led learning. He once said, 'I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn'" (page 202). "When do students in traditional school get to interact with others? When are they allowed to freely talk with each other, help each other, answer each other's questions, or work together? At recess? Is that it? Are they learning about how to form community by sitting in assigned seats, not moving, and not talking out of fear of punishment? How is this teaching them social skills? When do they learn to care for one another? ...Montessori argued that segregation by age as in traditional schools 'breaks the bongs of social life, deprives it of nourishment.' How does the method of 'nourish' this highest function of humans and cement the 'bonds of social life?' One answer is the grouping of children within a three year age bracket into one class. This has a direct impact on their social skills. Children have the opportunity to socialize with others older or younger than themselves every day. When my kids were not old enough to tie their shoes, they each had a separate older classmate in their Montessori class who was their favorite to ask for help. Something such as this is so simple. And in Montessori, it's not limited to shoe-tying. Spelling, science, math, favorite sports teams, dolls, the weather, anything can be discussed between students in a Montessori class at anytime. Remember 'No talking!' from traditional schools? Montessori is different. It's a community. Personal differences blend in within a community, Strengths and weaknesses are merely points on a continuum of growth and learning, not characteristics with which to permanently define a child. Children are used to seeing a wide range of abilities They get used to working with others at various places on that long continuum. They learn to appreciate what others CAN do, not what they CAN'T do (i.e., how many wrongs answers they get on a test). In this community, one can practice, and get comfortable, working with all ability levels" (page 219).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I was given this book to read by my daughter's new daycare. Essentially, we are borrowing until we leave the program. I like reading and I am always open to gaining new perspective. Especially we are embarking a new practice that will be a part of my child's daily life. Eissler opens the book with an embarrassing anecdote about his life in a traditional school. That example is used as an illustration of when he began to turn his back on traditional education. Throughout the first few chapters, h I was given this book to read by my daughter's new daycare. Essentially, we are borrowing until we leave the program. I like reading and I am always open to gaining new perspective. Especially we are embarking a new practice that will be a part of my child's daily life. Eissler opens the book with an embarrassing anecdote about his life in a traditional school. That example is used as an illustration of when he began to turn his back on traditional education. Throughout the first few chapters, he makes various arguments about his life experiences as a child, a new parent, and parent of multiple kids within a Montessori program in Central Texas. He uses his experiences as pilot to explain why Maria Montessori's ideas about education should be used in the classroom as well as in life. It takes until about six chapters in for Eissler to start explain some of the methodology and how is practiced within an institution. The chapters are relatively short and the writing is very approachable. Since I picked up this book for an in-depth explanation of the Montessori practice day to day and how to mimic it outside the institution, I was disappointed. This is a concise yet superficial description of the practice. There are excerpts where he explains roles and tenets of the practice, but they are over as quickly as they begin. Many times throughout the book, I found myself bored and absorbing very little. I eagerly devoured each chapter hoping for more knowledge to absorb. At time, the author seemed to get in his own way when discussing topics. Most chapters were about his opinions on traditional schooling but mentioned or described a few paragraphs of the pedagogy. I am glad this book is out there for all to pick up and read. I think it is approachable and serves a great purpose. I would recommend this book to someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Montessori practice. Someone who's never read a Montessori blog or picked another Montessori book. This book is a great sample to whet a beginner's appetite. It's not a book for someone who's read a few books or perused a few blogs about the practice.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    As a student I had positive experiences of both Montessori and public education. The author had a negative experience of public education. Although the book aims at promoting Montessori education, it relies far too heavily on a single-view criticism of public education. I found it to be an unevenly written comparison which distracted from the Montessori concepts it introduced. I suspect there are other books that will be more helpful to parents looking to learn more about Montessori or make a co As a student I had positive experiences of both Montessori and public education. The author had a negative experience of public education. Although the book aims at promoting Montessori education, it relies far too heavily on a single-view criticism of public education. I found it to be an unevenly written comparison which distracted from the Montessori concepts it introduced. I suspect there are other books that will be more helpful to parents looking to learn more about Montessori or make a comparison of education choices.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea

    It was ok. Eissler is clearly enthusiastic and clearly wants you to be as enthusiastic, if not more so, about Montessori as an educational system for your children. But there didn't seem to be a conclusion to his argument. His argument, based on almost entirely anecdotal evidence with an occasional quote from Montessori herself, just lacked coherence. He made his point in probably the first five or so chapters, but then, he just kept going! He kept trying to hammer home his profound joy in this e It was ok. Eissler is clearly enthusiastic and clearly wants you to be as enthusiastic, if not more so, about Montessori as an educational system for your children. But there didn't seem to be a conclusion to his argument. His argument, based on almost entirely anecdotal evidence with an occasional quote from Montessori herself, just lacked coherence. He made his point in probably the first five or so chapters, but then, he just kept going! He kept trying to hammer home his profound joy in this educational system using a somewhat different anecdote in each new chapter. There is a way to make the argument he wants: it is not by continually talking about only yourself and only your family and using the same argument in each chapter. (Public school is bad; Montessori is good. Be like Montessori. Sorry, that's a bit snarky.) I really struggled from about the half way point to finish this. He just didn't end and didn't add much new information. It didn't turn me off to child-centered learning or Montessori, but I certainly won't be calling him to get a talk on why this educational model is for everyone! I've said a lot of negative things. I did appreciate his acknowledgement of his race and class privilege. He puts it on the table, but doesn't do much with it. I found that annoying. He mentions how all children should go through this educational system. He didn't offer many, if any, solutions to that. He also pointed out that some public and private schools have adopted pieces of Montessori but not the whole thing and thus the results are not the same. Some sources or data would have been nice. Jeez. I could keep going. I'll wrap up. It was ok.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura Blouin

    I was assigned this book as a part of professional development for my school. I’m a Montessori teacher at a public Montessori school. I’m going to be quite blunt and say that I absolutely despised reading this book. I will also add that not a single coworker of mine enjoyed it either. The author takes a few, unrelated personal experiences and applies them to the Montessori philosophy in an overgeneralized way. Furthermore, the author is not a certified teacher, Montessori or otherwise, and has n I was assigned this book as a part of professional development for my school. I’m a Montessori teacher at a public Montessori school. I’m going to be quite blunt and say that I absolutely despised reading this book. I will also add that not a single coworker of mine enjoyed it either. The author takes a few, unrelated personal experiences and applies them to the Montessori philosophy in an overgeneralized way. Furthermore, the author is not a certified teacher, Montessori or otherwise, and has never spent time working at a school (observing doesn’t count) and oversimplifies what it means to be any kind of teacher. His disdain for traditional teachers destroys any credibility he would have had because his point of view is so blatantly biased that he fails to see the positives of many traditional public school; and though the American school system is far from perfect, there are still many positives to be found. Furthermore, I would also like to add that not ALL Montessori schools do a good job of educating children either, which he fails to mention in his book at all! The ONLY positive I took away from this book is that while reading, he would say something about the philosophy that would bring my own Montessori training to the forefront and I would enjoy noticing examples of the philosophy while teaching the next day. This is the only positive I could glean and to be honest, is of no credit to the author. I wish I hadn’t finished it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I was searching for info on Montessori as I was considering a preschool move for my son. This book did not do a whole lot to convince me. It was disjointed. He told a story about the struggles of his preemie son and tried to relate it to why Montessori is superior to other preschool options. I was actually put off by the first few chapters that attacked public school and standardization. Yes, it'd be great if we could all wander through life and do whatever we'd like at any given time without re I was searching for info on Montessori as I was considering a preschool move for my son. This book did not do a whole lot to convince me. It was disjointed. He told a story about the struggles of his preemie son and tried to relate it to why Montessori is superior to other preschool options. I was actually put off by the first few chapters that attacked public school and standardization. Yes, it'd be great if we could all wander through life and do whatever we'd like at any given time without regard to others and the big picture. I can't quite pinpoint what the main problem with this book is. He adds in a lot of irrelevant statistics and dry lenghthy quotes from Maria Montessori to support his points. Many times, after I'd read one of these quotes, I'd have to go back and figure out what his point was to begin with. Even would have to reference the title of the chapter sometimes for help in understanding what point he was trying to make. I wish he'd included more information as to why this was the correct choice for his kids with examples from the classroom itself that his kids experienced. Instead, he kept referencing himself, why public school (with standardized testing) is horrible, and it seemed to wander endlessly. Definitely would not recommend this to someone who is in the initial stages of investigating Montessori.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    While not perfect, I really appreciate that Eissler has written a book about Montessori that is more accessible to the average parent. Of course there are other books that explore Montessori's methods and philosophy more thoroughly and there are the many books written by Maria herself, this book isn't nearly as dense and I think would be more easily understood by a parent new to Montessori. I thought Eissler's examples of Montessori's principles in real life (such as in his career as a pilot) we While not perfect, I really appreciate that Eissler has written a book about Montessori that is more accessible to the average parent. Of course there are other books that explore Montessori's methods and philosophy more thoroughly and there are the many books written by Maria herself, this book isn't nearly as dense and I think would be more easily understood by a parent new to Montessori. I thought Eissler's examples of Montessori's principles in real life (such as in his career as a pilot) were a little awkward, but they illustrated a point I often try to make about Montessori -- it is not just about preschool, it is about the adults these children will someday be and how they function in society. More important than what age they read or how high they can count is their ability to concentrate, work independently, get along with others. I've seen others criticize how Eissler "trashes" public school, but I didn't have this reaction. I think Eissler points out many times that public school and other traditional school teachers are often great teachers, but we need to reevaluate the lessons traditional schools are teaching students and the limitations we are placing on teachers who could be more effectively supporting their students.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate Hastings

    Why, why, why does the only Montessori school in town have to be 30 minutes from our house? This method has worked so well for MY son. He is thriving. I appreciate how this method has allowed my son to learn things at his pace and by utilizing his interests. I also like how his teachers are able to address discipline privately because they are not instructing an entire classroom at any given time. I think the main point to remember is that children are ready to learn when they are ready to learn Why, why, why does the only Montessori school in town have to be 30 minutes from our house? This method has worked so well for MY son. He is thriving. I appreciate how this method has allowed my son to learn things at his pace and by utilizing his interests. I also like how his teachers are able to address discipline privately because they are not instructing an entire classroom at any given time. I think the main point to remember is that children are ready to learn when they are ready to learn-- and that it doesn't happen for every child at the same time. They key is to look for those opportunities when the child is READY and use that moment to introduce something new/or build on that enthusiasm. There is so much that we can take away and use as parents at home to encourage curiosity and understanding. It has also made me more laid back about standardized testing and what it doesn't tell us.

  17. 4 out of 5

    MaryLiz LeBoeuf

    I have heard so many positive things about Montessori education and am considering a primary program for one of my children. That being said, I did not enjoy this book. It's obvious that the author is very passionate about Montessori education, and he is probably a great speaker on the subject. The book, however, was tedious and rambling. I'm not sure it really taught me any new info about Montessori schooling. I also thought he tended to overgeneralize the cons of traditional schooling and so I have heard so many positive things about Montessori education and am considering a primary program for one of my children. That being said, I did not enjoy this book. It's obvious that the author is very passionate about Montessori education, and he is probably a great speaker on the subject. The book, however, was tedious and rambling. I'm not sure it really taught me any new info about Montessori schooling. I also thought he tended to overgeneralize the cons of traditional schooling and sort of lumped all traditional schools together as one big awful bureaucracy. I think this was a bit unfair. Finally, he completely glosses over the importance of the family and home environment. It really sort of bugged me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marcy

    I was sent this book by Trevor Eissler many (many) months ago. IO finally got around to reading it... and was pretty much blown away. This will now be my go-to book to recommend to any parent curious about Montessori. He explains all the benefits of a Montessori education beautifully, utilizing examples of his children's experiences in Montessori to help illustrate different points. He also often speaks of how many of the principles of Montessori are applicable to so many other areas of life, su I was sent this book by Trevor Eissler many (many) months ago. IO finally got around to reading it... and was pretty much blown away. This will now be my go-to book to recommend to any parent curious about Montessori. He explains all the benefits of a Montessori education beautifully, utilizing examples of his children's experiences in Montessori to help illustrate different points. He also often speaks of how many of the principles of Montessori are applicable to so many other areas of life, such as in his career as a pilot. Bottom line: if you're interested in Montessori at all, I highly recommend reading this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katie Stein

    The director of the Montessori that both of my kids attend provided this book to all of the parents of the school. I think it is a good introduction to Montessori philosophy and methods and was fun to consider in light of my own Montessori education as a child as well as my current role as a parent. The drawbacks are the same as those mentioned by other reviewers, especially too much bashing of the public school system, which has certainly changed in the last 30 years. However, the book was acce The director of the Montessori that both of my kids attend provided this book to all of the parents of the school. I think it is a good introduction to Montessori philosophy and methods and was fun to consider in light of my own Montessori education as a child as well as my current role as a parent. The drawbacks are the same as those mentioned by other reviewers, especially too much bashing of the public school system, which has certainly changed in the last 30 years. However, the book was accessible overall and since I received it for free, I was happy to read it and felt like it was a worthwhile way to spend my time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Todd Webb

    I'm a huge fan of Montessori education. This book provides a great overview of the principles that guide the learning environment in a Montessori school. If you want to know what it's all about and why you might want to send your kids to a Montessori school, read this. Highly recommended! (Because I would love to see many more children have the opportunity to learn in a Montessori classroom and parents and grandparents, current and future, are best positioned to move our country in that directio I'm a huge fan of Montessori education. This book provides a great overview of the principles that guide the learning environment in a Montessori school. If you want to know what it's all about and why you might want to send your kids to a Montessori school, read this. Highly recommended! (Because I would love to see many more children have the opportunity to learn in a Montessori classroom and parents and grandparents, current and future, are best positioned to move our country in that direction.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The author is an enthusiastic and entertaining writer. He makes it clear that he's trying to convince you to be a Montessori proponent, which he does almost to a fault. After I'd read half the book, I'd been convinced enough :) The book was starting to make me feel downright depressed about all other education models which I don't think is fair either. Hopefully this book will inspire us to look at how we as a society approach education and make changes based on what is best for our kids period.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fritz Schneider

    We recently enrolled our preschool-aged kids at a montessori school. I was given this book when I asked the head of the school for something modern that distilled their education philosophy. I found the book to be a quick, easy read and after reading it I feel like I have a pretty good idea about the fundamentals. The author could've done a little less traditional-school bashing, but I'm excited by what I read and hopeful that it all bears out in reality! If you're at all curious about early edu We recently enrolled our preschool-aged kids at a montessori school. I was given this book when I asked the head of the school for something modern that distilled their education philosophy. I found the book to be a quick, easy read and after reading it I feel like I have a pretty good idea about the fundamentals. The author could've done a little less traditional-school bashing, but I'm excited by what I read and hopeful that it all bears out in reality! If you're at all curious about early educational options, I'd definitely recommend this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Rabon

    This book was a much more engaging and accessible book about the Montessori philosophy. I still don't like how much traditional school bashing there is, but at least the parts that weren't talking about how abysmal my education was were written in a way that was less dry. I saw Trevor Eissler speak at Montessori School of Denver a few weeks ago and he's very entertaining and passionate about this, which I can appreciate.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Arctic

    This is a really good primer for anyone interested in Elementary Montessori education. In particular it makes an excellent case for Montessori as a superior educational system than that found in traditional schools. Put simply, public schools industrialize education with standards and kill the will to learn by punishing curiosity, while Montessori encourages curiosity and fosters community over competition.

  25. 4 out of 5

    April

    If you can make yourself get past this horrible title, then you might realize what I did: this is a great book for introducing key Montessori ideas to parents. written by a parent for parents. I've recommended this book to several families already. (maybe the 2nd ed. will have a better tittle...)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rina

    This is a wonderful book for starting to understand Maria Montessori and the Montessori Method. This whole book was in Eissler's, a parent himself, and his views and perspectives of Montessori. He personalizes and brings experienced examples to explain and express his feelings. It was an outstanding introduction to the Montessori Method!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lorenzo Benedetti

    We have our son enrolled part-time in a Montessori school for Fall. I'm familiar with and really like the the basic philosophy behind the Montessori environment - I just wanted to familiarize myself with the day to day specifics. You know, just in case he needs help with a block tower because as soon as he starts learning things like Algebra etc, his Dad's going to have to take over.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a super book written from the perspective of a fellow parent --not a teacher, not a psychologist, not even someone who is a Montessori trained. It's easy to understand, written in "layman's" terms, and fully explains really why I love the Montessori approach so much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I read this with my book club. It really helped to clearly show what the Montessori method is for those of us who have not studied education of children. It is written by a parent. I would recommend this book to any parent or educator.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book reminded me of the core reasons why I drive 60 miles a day so our kids can attend a public Montessori school. He does come across a bit strong and if my kids weren't in a Montessori school already, I might feel guilty, but I think that's part of his passion.

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