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Best 8 Montessori Books for Parents

If you are interested in learning more about Montessori and guiding your child in this fashion, there is some reading you need to do. I’ve done my fair share of reading on this topic and reading her books, and I’ve got some reviews for you on which Montessori books for parents that are looking to learn more about her method and the advice she had to give on guiding your child.

There are many books written by Dr. Montessori, about Dr. Montessori, and modern-day take on Dr. Montessori’s thoughts and methods.

Along with each book review, I’ve included an inspirational excerpt from the book that I’ve found helpful in my Montessori journey. I hope you find these quotes as helpful as I have!

It can be difficult to find books written by her that are easy to read and easy to apply to our everyday lives. She was quite an intelligent woman, thus the challenge of her reads!

Woman with a Montessori book to read

Even the tedious books are great to keep around for reference, though!

Montessori books for parents: written by Dr. Montessori

1. The Secret of Childhood

This is one of my favorite Montessori books for parents to read. It’s chock full of great information on childhood development and how Montessori incorporated it into the development of her methods.

Dr. Montessori also writes about some of the materials and approaches she used.

Not only is this book extremely helpful in understanding a child’s growth and development, but I found it to be one of her easiest to read.

Many of her books simply can’t be read cover-to-cover due to the complexity of the language and the depth of the material. This book is not one of them.

For someone who is just starting to learn about Montessori, this book is a great place to start!

A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of adults and wants to imitate them. In this regard an adult can have kid of a mission. He can be an inspiration for the child’s actions, a kind of open book wherein a child can learn to direct his own movements. But an adult, if he is afford the proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions and their particulars.


Montessori, Maria. The Secret of Childhood. New York: Fides Publishers, Inc, 1966. Print.

The reason this quote struck resonance with me is because, in Montessori, modeling is often in the place of teaching. In order to model a task or an activity, your child needs to be able to clearly see the steps you are taking or they will not be able to mimic them.

2. The Montessori Method

This is one of Maria Montessori’s most famous works and for good reason. It’s comprehensive in explaining her pedogeological methods.

She also goes into matters of diet, discipline, and childhood behaviors. This is one of the most important Montessori books for you to read, in my opinion.

The domineering and tyrannical behavior with examples of which we are all too familiar. The domineering habit develops side by side with helplessness. It is the outward sign of the state of feeling of him who conquers through the work of others. Thus is often happens that the master is a tyrant toward his servant. It is the spirit of the task-master toward the slave. (p. 87)


Montessori, Maria. The Montessori Method. Virginia: Wilder Publications, 2008. Print.

This is so true. Helplessness is often the cause of bossy, domineering behavior from children.

If they can’t do things for themselves, if they don’t have access to the things they need to care for themselves, or if they aren’t given the opportunity to function independently, what other choice do they have but to be the boss of the adult?

All too often, I’ve seen parents, in an attempt to keep their child their “baby”, spoon feed, dress, and cater to their child’s every whim. This is the master/servant relationship addressed in this quote.

3. The Discovery of the Child

This is a book that focuses on a child’s nature and urges. This is one of her more challenging reads. It’s not one you’ll want to sit and read cover-to-cover.

She goes into great depth about her observations of how children learn and the benefit of the application of her methods and how these methods of learning elevate children.

Anyone who has seen these children set a table must have become increasingly apprehensive and surprised. Little four-year old waitresses set the table with knives, forks, and plates. They carry as many as five glasses of water and pass from table to table bearing large tureens of hot soup. No one cuts himself, breaks a glass, or spills a drop of soup. (p. 304)


Montessori, Maria. The Discovery of the Child. New Yok. Fides: 1967. Print.

I love this quote. As most of us know, Montessori schools and homes allow children to use glass dishes and metal utensils. Some say, “That’s all that was available back in her day.” Fair enough.

While that may be true, it doesn’t negate the fact that these children she is speaking about were actually doing the things in her books. (Read about control of error here.)

What would be the reason that we shouldn’t continue modeling, then trusting our children to use these items and perform tasks such as the ones in this excerpt?

4. The Absorbent Mind

Passionately written, this book is all about childhood development and a child’s psychic needs at different stages. This an easy read and an important read!

Nothing is more astonishing than to see one of children engaged in a so-called “exercise of practical life”: completely absorbed, for example, in polishing a brass vessel and carefully following his instructions till it shines brilliantly; then without pause beginning all over again, and repeating every detain till he has polished the already shining pot several times over! This proves that the external aim was only a stimulus. The real aim was to satisfy an unconscious need, and this is why the operation is formative, for the child’s repetition was laying down in his nervous system an entirely new system of controls, in other words, establishing fresh co-ordinatations between his muscles, co-ordiniations not given by nature, but having to be acquired. (p.180)


Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind. New York: Holt, 1967. Print.

There is nothing I love to see more than my children completely absorbed in a task; no interruptions, no stopping to ask for assistance. Washing dishes, cleaning a table, scrubbing potatoes, practicing the Dressing Frames, over and over again.

These tasks hold minimal value to us, as parents. The value to the child is immense, though!

5. Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook

This is a short handbook that features many Montessori activities and the reasoning behind them. As with all of her books, she delves into child psychology, which is a critical part of her methods.

The tendencies which we stigmatize as evil in little children three to six years of age are often merely those which cause an annoyance to us adults when, not understanding their needs, we try to prevent their every movement, their every attempt to gain experience for themselves in the world (by touching everything, ect.). The child, however, through this natural tendency, is led to coordinate his movements and to collect impressions, especially sensations of touch, so that when prevented he rebels, and this rebellion forms almost the whole of his “naughtiness.” (p. 81)


Montessori, Maria. Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook. South Carolina: Unknown Publisher. 2017. Print.

This quote draws attention to our role as adults, as a potential cause of our children’s untoward behavior. We have all heard the phrase “the terrible twos”, as well as other child-unfriendly phrases.

Understanding what children are needing during these trying times is important when raising small children. Following Dr. Montessori’s methods can really help parents out in the tough years.

Pile of Montssori books Pinterest image

6. A Child in the Family

I was hesitant to give this book a chance. There are certain passages cited often in a Montessori Facebook group from the book, particularly about a child’s sleep, that I have issues with.

I read it, though, and I absolutely love it. Dr. Montessori discusses how adults and children are often at odds with each other due to our misunderstanding of our children’s needs and our need to control; our need for obedience without question.

Dr. Montessori was on a quest to humanize children and this book helps us do just that.

Certainly there is something that compels a teacher to advise very young student continually, to correct them, to show them that she is superior in experience or culture; ultimately she must be resigned to quelling every bit of vanity, or she will obtain no results. (p. 75,76)


Montessori, Maria. The Child in the family. New York: Avon, 1970. Print.

An important quote for those parents who tend to hover and instruct. I’ve done this in the past and I can’t deny that my own vanity had something to do with it.

Not “vanity” as in how I appear as a parent, but how I wanted some of the credit for my child’s learning. “I know something about this, so I’m going to teach you what I know.”

And when a child makes a mistake, we correct them, as if we don’t trust them to not only know they’ve made an error but that they don’t know how to correct it. We want them to need us wholly in their activities.

This is the “vanity” she is referring to.

Pregnant women with a Montessori book to read
Below are some great Montessori books to start with!

Montessori books for parents: written by others

7. How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way

This book is awesome. The author breaks down Montessori into bite-size pieces and gives great tips on how to apply Montessori to your everyday life.

It’s easy to understand and is full of visual representations and photographs to help guide you. This is a popular book among parents new to Montessori and there is a very good reason why! I recommend it!

If you create a welcoming but orderly space for your children and allow them to work and play freely, their confidence and independence will blossom. (p. 22)


Seldin, Tim. How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, 2nd Edition. Print.

This is just plain true! Setting up a space just for my children has been key in their independence and confidence. It doesn’t have to be grand or Pinterest perfect; it just has to be for them.

8. Montessori from the Start

This is a popular book, and a controversial book, among Montessorians. There are some parts of the book, such as sleep advice and the author’s description of a child’s “idle play” that rub some people the wrong way.

It’s a great book overall, though, and I suggest reading it if you have a baby or a very young toddler! It’s a basic overview of child development and how to implement Montessori into your home.

The selection of toys we make available to our children is as important as what we choose for any other area of their environment. To select wisely, we need to go back to our initial purpose in helping a child in his self formation. All loving parents want to raise a child to whom the world makes sense, who can think about the world wisely and who loves and respects himself and others. By showing care in the toys you choose for your child, you are showing him that he is important to you. You are showing him what is beautiful and meaningful to you in life. You thereby help your child in turn to look for beauty and logic in the world around him. (p. 84)


Polk Lillard, Paula and Lillard Jessen, Lynn. Montessori From The Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three. New York: Schocken Books, 2003. Print.

Beauty and logic. That is what we are providing when we are shopping for toys and materials for our children!

Montessori Gift for Kids and A Very Merry Montessori Christmas Gift Guide have some great Montessori-aligned toy selections if you are interested.

I hope you found this article helpful, not only for understanding more about Montessori but for which Montessori books to read!

Cheers and don’t forget to subscribe!

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Which Montessori Book to Read First: 6 Titles Worthy of Consideration — The Montessori-Minded Mom

Sunday 6th of September 2020

[…] list of Montessori book recommendations would be complete without on entry on the book written by founder Maria Montessori herself. The […]

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Friday 20th of March 2020

I am glad that you share such a big list of books, but, before reading them, I need to know what '' Montessori '' means. Can anybody explain me?

Shruti

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

As a toddler mom this is very helpful

Sue Denym

Thursday 17th of October 2019

I'm glad you found this helpful! Montessori principals can be applied in ANY home!