Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Montessori Madness!

These summer days have afforded me the opportunity to read Trevor Eissler's book, Montessori Madness!  What is most refreshing is that this resource is not written by a Montessorian or even by an educator.  Instead Eissler, a parent of Montessori students and himself an airline pilot/flight instructor,  advocates the philosophy of the Montessori method of education as a catalyst for school reform.  In doing so, he succinctly explains major components of Montessori theory and practice in ways which non-Montessorians can easily identify.

One of my favorite passages is his description of the first time he observed a Montessori (Early Childhood) classroom.  "I gasped.  To my right a child of no more than four sat brandishing a needle!  Actually, it became apparent she wasn't brandishing it at all.  She was sewing.  And she was entranced by her solitary work.  Across the room I spied two children with a knife!  I soon realized these two little children, surely no older than three, were taking turns using a rounded butter-knife.  They were slicing carrots and celery, which they would later serve to the class as a snack.  Everything here was real.  The flower vases were not plastic, they were glass.  Even the glasses were glass!" (Eissler, 2009, p. 47).  Reading this, I had to remind myself that it is impossible for everyone who visits our classroom to understand the  fundamentals of the approach.  Additionally, it highlighted the fact that what is routine and normal for the Montessori classroom, vastly differs from the ideas of those unfamiliar with the method.  Later, Eissler (2009) writes of his classroom observation, "when the thirty minutes were up, I inconspicuously rose and slipped out of the room, feeling relaxed and refreshed.  I met my wife back at the school office and asked, flabbergasted, 'What just happened?'" (p. 49).  Eissler had just found the answers he had been searching for in the quest for excellence in education.

I recommend this book not only to Montessorians, but also to those interested in learning more about the positive impact a Montessori education can have for children and their parents.  As mentioned earlier, it is also a valuable tool to better understand Montessori terminology and nuances that anyone can understand (not just Montessorians).  In the meantime, you might also find interest in the video below:

For parents of my students, the book is available to you through our classroom Parent Resource Library - I hope you will take the opportunity to borrow it!

Eissler, T. (2009).  Montessori madness: A parent to parent argument for Montessori education.      Georgetown, TX: Sevenoff, LLC.


  1. Fabulous post! I'm going to check out that book at our local library! I love the video too! Thank you for sharing! I know this method has made all the difference for us and can't begin to express the changes in our children. My three year old who has several disabilities LOVES Math and is already adding, subtracting and more. (The video reminded me of her.) Hope you're having a great summer!

  2. I'm so glad to hear of the positive impact the method has made in your life and the lives of your children! Thanks for reading and for your feedback! Happy summer!