ISBN Montessori from the Start

by Lillard, Paula Polk
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Lillard, Paula Polk ISBN Montessori from the Start
Lillard, Paula Polk - ISBN Montessori from the Start

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Montessori from the Start

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 three years incorporates the furnishings and tools she created for the care and comfort of babies. From the design of the baby’s bedroom to the child-sized kitchen table, from diet and food preparation to clothing and movement, the authors provide guidance for the establishment of a beautiful and serviceable environment for babies and very young children. They introduce concepts and tasks, taking into account childrens’ ”sensitive periods” for learning such skills as dressing themselves, food preparation, and toilet training. Brimming with anecdote and encouragement, and written in a clear, engaging style, Montessori from the Start is a practical and useful guide to raising calm, competent, and confident children.


Lillard, Paula Polk
Jessen, Lynn Lillard

Further information

Chapter One
The Completion of the Human Being

Before we begin the chapters of practical detail that form the body of this book, it is important to visit two more areas of thought about the formation of human beings. If we are going

to help the human infant in the monumental task of self-completion, we need to understand where the energy for self-construction and positive response to life comes from in human beings. How do we encourage enthusiasm and interaction with the environment? How are they discouraged? Secondly, if we are going to define the human infant as incomplete at birth, we need to outline the specific formation that is necessary for the child to become a complete human being. Both of these topics come to light through an awareness of the differences between human beings and all other species.

We have said that the human infant is incomplete at birth. It is our role as adults to assist our children in the formidable task of finishing their own formation as human beings. Only in this way can our children become fully formed adults and reach the potential which they are capable of from birth. The degree of this challenge for both the adult human being and the human child sets humans apart from all other species. It is true that the young of some animals, specifically mammals, are born in an immature state. However, their task is largely pre-programmed by their genes, and their instincts follow a narrowly limited path of development. Given the care required by creation's plan for their species, they only need time to grow bigger and mature into adulthood. They pay a price for the predetermined nature of their existence, however. They have limited versatility in their adaptation to their environment. For example, the foal and calf are destined to eat grasses and grains; the tiger and lion cub, small mammals. The ways in which they meet other challenges of existence are programmed as well: their fur keeps them warm, horns and sharp teeth defend them, swift legs carry them from danger, and so forth.

The human child, on the other hand, is born with no set pattern of instinctive behavior to meet its fundamental needs for survival; its options are limitless. No predetermined response limits our possibilities in devising the means for meeting our fundamental needs for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and defense. Instead of the specific instructions of instincts, we are given propensities to certain actions. Although we are born naked and defenseless without a means for shelter and with no instinctual knowledge of what is safe for us to eat, through these propensities we have more than survived; our behavioral tendencies account for the development of all the varied civilizations throughout the ages from prehistoric peoples to the modern era of telecommunications. Montessori offered a description of these propensities to help us understand how children respond to the environment in which they are born. She did not intend for any list of behaviors to be limited or necessarily definitive. Each of us could no doubt come up with a different list of our own. Nevertheless, the following ideas can serve as a general guide. For better comprehension and recall, we have combined them into four groupings.

The first grouping involves answering the question, what is out there? It includes exploration, orientation, and order. Human beings set out to explore the surrounding environment and discover its possibilities. When we do this, however, we have to be able to find the way back to our starting place. Hence the human action of orientation and order is necessary. We need to build a mental map of our surroundings and an internal sense of direction, distance, time, and sequence. Our expression in language and organization in thought are based on this ability to recognize and use order in our lives. When these tendencies toward orientation and order are disrupted-as in changing geographi
Media Type:
Penguin Random House
A major and timely contribution to the early childhood years anecdotal, rich in insight and experience, practical and useful. This informed, careful, and intelligent response to the unfolding of personality will peak parents interest as they learn how to establish healthy, enjoyable, and sustaining relationships with their children. A must for parents-to-be, nannies, and care-givers. Virginia McHugh Goodwin, Executive Director, Association Montessori International, U.S.A.
Number of Pages:

Master Data

Product Type:
Paperback book
Release date:
July 22, 2003
Package Dimensions:
0.202 x 0.133 x 0.112 m; 0.356 kg
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