About the Book Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you.)294 pages Shining Mountains Press Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self
The Independent Book Publishers Association has recognized Montessori Parenting as one of the top three parenting books in the nation. It is a book that touches the heart of Montessori education. It focuses on the spiritual nature of the child, on the child’s Authentic Self, as the basis of the Montessori method. The book refers to both Eastern and Western influences in Maria Montessori’s thoughts and shows just how important the child’s Authentic Self is in the process of reaching the child’s potential.
There are four parts to the book: “Discovering the Authentic Child,” “Unveiling the Authentic Child,” “Creating Nurturing Home Environments,” and “Being an Authentic Parent.” Montessori Parenting is a thought-provoking book. You’ll want to own rather than borrow the book because it’s best read a few pages at a time, pondering the ideas, and taking time to observe your child throughout your reading.
You’ll find “Suggestions for Follow Through” at the end of each chapter that are especially helpful in applying what you learn. The suggestions often include journaling and observations of your child. Montessori education is based on observing the child, and this book will help you learn to apply many of the techniques Maria Montessori used in developing Montessori education. You’ll also find the parts on “Creating Nurturing Home Environments” and “Being an Authentic Parent” important in teaching you how to use the ideas you learn in the earlier parts.
Here’s an excerpt that explains part of the reason why simple Montessori activities such as spooning dried beans or pouring water from container to container are so important:
Excerpt of the “Concentration” section from Chapter 6 of Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self:
Developing the ability to concentrate is an important skill that helps the child integrate what he receives from his surroundings. Without concentration, the mind is easily distracted by sensorial sensations, memories, imaginations and general wanderings. The power to concentrate implies that all of these distractions are quieted and the child can focus his full attention on the present moment and listen to his inner guide as he engages himself in his work. Montessori observed the great benefits of concentration among the children. “Each time that such a polarization of attention took place the child began to be completely transformed, to become calm and more intelligent.” [Spontaneous Activity in Education]
The state of concentration can be compared to the state of meditation where an individual is able to focus on the present moment with full attention. The result of this is a feeling of calm, well being and love. Children experience this when they become meaningfully engaged in an activity for long periods of time. During this process children are absorbing or taking in the meaning of their learning experience, responding to their inner guidance, forming new concepts and making connections in their unconscious mind.
Montessori discovered that concentration occurs naturally when children are totally engaged in an activity or work. She used the word “normalization” to describe the child’s being in touch with his Authentic Self. She said, “Normalization comes about through ‘concentration’ on a piece of work. For this we must provide ‘motives for activity’ so well adapted to the child’s interests that they provoke his deep attention…. The essential thing is for the task to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality.” [The Absorbent Mind]
This delicate state of concentration needs to be respected and protected by parents and teachers. When we see a child engaged in an activity with this kind of focus, it is imperative that we do our best not to interrupt this flow of energy within the child. If it is absolutely essential that we talk to a child during this time of concentration, it is important to move gracefully in his presence and gently call his name so he can slowly change his attention to us.
Another possible pitfall is to see a child doing something well and say “Good job!” While our intention is to encourage him, by saying this during the period of concentration, we actually stop his flow of concentration. This is where we need to develop our own ability to concentrate so we can observe what the child is doing before interrupting him. Montessori was extremely sensitive to the sanctity of the child’s periods of concentration and the adult’s need to respect this “great work of the child” “If…a teacher respects the freedom of the child and has faith in him, if she has will enough to forget all she has learned, if she is modest enough not to consider her intervention essential, if she knows how to wait patiently, then she will see a complete change in the child. [The Child in the Family]
She goes on to describe the change that can be seen in a restless child when he finds an activity that draws his deepest attention. “He is agitated until he seeks something within the depths of his mind that he has not yet found for himself…. It must hold his entire attention; he must concentrate and consecrate his entire being, at the same time, he must be free from everything that goes on around him. “This is what we call the great work.” [The Child in the Family]
Once the child has completed his task of concentration, he displays a deep sense of joy and satisfaction. The child has had a wonderful period of experiencing his Spirit and takes great pleasure in this. Montessori observed that,
The child who concentrates is immensely happy; he ignores his neighbors or the visitors circulating about him. For the time being his spirit is like that of a hermit in the desert: a new consciousness has been born in him, that of his own individuality. When he comes out of his concentration, he seems to perceive the world anew as a boundless field for fresh discoveries…. Love awakens in him for people and for things…. The spiritual process is plain: he detaches himself from the world in order to attain the power to unite himself with it. [The Absorbent Mind]
(Excerpt used with permission from Sonnie McFarland.)
You’ll also enjoy the anecdotes throughout the book from Dr. Jim and Sonnie McFarland’s Montessori parenting and grandparenting. I highly recommend Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self for both parents and grandparents.
Giveaway: This giveaway is now closed.
What You Will Win: 2 lucky winners from the U.S. or Canada will win a paperback copy of Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self!
Who is Eligible:
This giveaway is open to anyone 18 and older in the U.S. and Canada. Shining Mountains Press will pay for shipping. The first entry is mandatory. You must leave a blog post comment telling why you want to win Montessori Parenting (and be sure to click the green “ENTER” on the Rafflecopter form to let me know you left your blog post comment and to open up the optional entries)! After you’ve completed your mandatory entry, there are lots of optional entries. You have many chances to win! (Note: For the extra entries, you may count ways of following that you already do. For example, if you previously “liked” Living Montessori Now on Facebook, you may still count that for your “like” Living Montessori Now on Facebook entry!)
It’s easy to enter giveaways with Rafflecopter! Just follow the directions to enter.If you still have questions about the Rafflecopter form, here’s a 52-second video with quick directions for entering through Rafflecopter.
You must complete the Mandatory Entry to qualify for any additional entries. The giveaway closes 10:01pm MST on Thursday, October 18. Best of luck!
It’s Friday morning, October 19. I really appreciated the 621 entries!
Two lucky winners have been selected using Random.org through Rafflecopter!
The winners of Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self are Claudia T. and Steph S. from Discovery Days and Montessori Moments! (Note: Claudia and Steph, you each have 48 hours to respond to my email, or a new winner will be chosen.)
Claudia and Steph had multiple entries … I’m so happy you each won a copy of this fabulous book!
The comment for Claudia’s mandatory entry (why she wanted to win) said:
“I am a child care provider in a low income sector of the Bronx, New York . I am pursuing my Montessori teacher training and will learn a lot if i win one of the copies of this amazing book, to be more prepared to give back to my community and the children I care for.
Thanks so much or hosting this giveaway. God bless you.”
The comment for Steph’s mandatory entry (why she wanted to win) said:
“Wow! This book looks like a really great resource! I would love to be able to read the whole thing! Thanks for hosting!”
CONGRATULATIONS, Claudia and Steph!!! Thank you SO MUCH to Shining Mountains Press for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway – and thank you to everyone who entered! If you didn’t win, you can get 20% off a copy of Montessori Parenting until 5pm MST on Friday, November 2, by calling Christian directly by phone (719-395-3969). He can take your order over the phone, and you can pay by credit card. Just mention the giveaway and 20% discount.
And, always, thanks so much to all my blog sponsors!
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