—by Megan Gregorowski
Selecting books for a Montessori-inspired home environment can be somewhat daunting.
‘What makes a children’s book Montessori friendly?’ ‘How do we choose books that stay true to Montessori philosophy and engage our children in the real world?’
Here are some tips to follow when selecting Montessori-aligned books.
First, consider why having a home filled with books benefits even very young children’s development.
- cognitive development
- language skills
- preparation for academic success
- and creativity
Some tips on choosing Montessori-friendly children’s books:
Choose books based on reality. Montessori identified what she called the Absorbent Mind in the first plane of development, between birth to age six when children absorb information from the world around them. Children in this developmental phase benefit from learning about real things rather than fantasy. With a strong grounding in reality, knowledge and creativity flourish.
As Montessori said in her 1946 London Lectures, children “acquire knowledge through experience in the environment.”
It is only in the second plane of development, after the age of six, that children’s brains become capable of understanding fantasy.
So, select books showing the world around them: people, places, animals, and natural environments; the options are endless.
Choose books that are beautifully illustrated. Illustrations can ignite curiosity, enhance creativity, and provide opportunities for extended conversation-enhancing vocabulary and language development.
Illustrations should be realistic and based on the world. This does not mean illustrations have to be real. Drawings can be used, but ensure they are realistic. A fish should be shown with fins and not arms, for example.
Choose age-appropriate books. Books that are possibly too difficult or too easy may cause children to lose interest and discourage learning.
A book’s format is also important: does it have pull-out pages or flaps, and are they age-appropriate and practical? Ask yourself if your children can use them as intended.
And lastly, choose books that are related to your children’s interests. They are natural and curious learners with a great drive for independence.
By selecting books based on their interests, we honor our children by choosing books that support their learning and create interest and a deeper appreciation for the world around them.
Happy book browsing!
Megan Gregorowski is a Montessori 3-6 Directress(MCI)(MCSA) and a recent psychology graduate. She ispassionate about challenging stereotypes in educationand brings her Montessori and psychology knowledgetogether to inform her teaching practice as an education supportteacher in a special-needs setting.
A debut children’s book author, Megan was inspired to writechildren’s books about the Montessori philosophy and classroomenvironment with her first Montessori-inspired series beingreleased in January 2023.
Megan lives on the Wild Coast of South Africa and loves adventureand being creative, when she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoysbaking, painting, or exploring her local beach with her husband,son, and dogs.
Follow Megan on Instagram @meg_gregorowski_author