Last week I said that if I could recommend one educational book for parents of children ages 5 and under, it would be How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. If I could recommend a second book, it would be Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child by Maja Pitamic. UPDATE: Now I also recommend John Bowman’s Montessori at Home eBook as an essential guide for parents wanting to use Montessori at home.
Teach Me to Do It Myself shows that you can use Montessori methods and activities without spending a lot of money or spending years in formal Montessori training. Sure, Montessori materials manufactured to exact specifications are beautiful and Montessori teacher training is extremely helpful.
But you can successfully use Montessori techniques by simply following the guidelines in this book. There are a number of elements that make the book especially appealing. The book has:
- an attractive, easy-to-follow format with large type.
- lots of full-color photos and color illustrations to make the book enjoyable to read and clear to understand.
- boxes with a listing of what you will need for each activity.
- directions to easily and inexpensively assemble each of the activities.
- colored tip boxes.
- colored boxes with other activities to try.
- boxes with word activities.
After a short introduction to Montessori and how to use the book, the main part of the book is filled with activities. These activities cover the following areas:
- Life Skills
- Developing the Senses
- Language Development (including letters, word building, and first sentences)
- Numeracy Skills (learning numerals, learning quantities, adding and subtracting numbers and quantities, and shopping number and numeral vocabulary)
- Science Skills
I really like the way Pitamic has activities which are attractive yet simple and inexpensive. A few of the activities, for example, are:
- musical scales using 5 glass bottles with varying levels of water.
- discovering colors using paint color sample strips.
- introducing letters using a baking sheet half-filled with salt to write letters.
- addition with paper number rods cut out from the book.
Teach Me to Do It Myself doesn’t cover infants, but it is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers through age 5. One thing missing from the book is suggested ages for each activity. It’s true that Montessori education is individualized, but many parents would find some guidance in that regard helpful.
How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way would help in that area. Using the two books together, parents should be able to easily decide appropriate ages for each of the activities.
If you have a toddler or preschooler, Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child is a book you’ll find yourself using over and over again. It’s well worth the price of the book to have it on your bookshelf.