Resources

Parenting books are a slippery slope, but I think they have value in that they can be cobbled together to help you be a more effective parent. I can’t guarantee that you will  like all of them or will find all of them helpful. As I said on my soap box, you need, as a parent, to find what works for you and your family, and it may not be the same as what works for me and mine. The list is here to give you some places to look and some ideas to try out. Below the list of  books there is a link to my Goodreads parenting list where you can read other reviews of the books and find other books I have read.

Parenting Manuals

Your Baby and ChildYour Baby and Child by Penelope Leach

This book was really comprehensive and incredibly helpful. Leach’s advice and approach to parenting is pretty modern and very loving. I found it incredibly compatible with Montessori principles and with Reggio philosophy. Be aware, it appears dense and difficult if you just flip through it. But it is very readable and broken into digestible chunks. She tackles everything and I do mean everything. From bathing to teething to potty training to deciding when to enter nursery or pre- school. Each section is broken up to cover developmental stages (so newborn, the first six months, 6-12 months, one year to 2.5 years, and 2.5 to 5 years) and within that they are further broken up into sections like feeding and growing, everyday care, sleeping, movement, language, etc. These sections are formatted very similarly so it is easy to make comparisons and see the arc of development over the years. 

There is a book that I have seen several Montessori parents recommend and is quoted in The Joyful Child (a book I discuss below) by Silvana Montanaro. I have not been able to find it in print or used in the US for a reasonable price. I think, based on descriptions of her book and quotations, that Your Baby and Child, while not based in Montessori principles per se, is a probably a close match. 

 

Montessori Resources

See here to read my series on resources for teachers manuals, printables, scope and sequences and materials.

The Joyful ChildThe Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom Birth to Three by Susan Mayclin Stephenson 

I think this was one of the best Montessori books I read. It gives you good philosophy and good practical application advice in language that was easy to understand. I know you can read Maria Montessori’s own work, and if you’re really serious about the Montessori method I would recommend doing so, but she often has a lot of politics, antiquated scientific ideas, and flowery language that is frustrating to wade through.

The Joyful Child is especially helpful for information about the first year/year and a half and I wish I had read it a lot sooner. There is information about how to set up a nursery, what to expect for milestones and how to interact with your baby. Stephenson never comes across as a zealot or condescending and even if you decide not to implement the whole Montessori method into your home/educational experience there is a lot of valuable information here that you can use to make your house child-friendly. 

Be sure this is the edition you get of this book. It appears there was an earlier version (same publisher and same author but without her middle name) that was light on reading and heavy on pushing products made/sold by Michel Olaf. 

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin

I would use this book in tandem with The Joyful Child as it had a lot more practical application in it in the form of activity ideas and explanations of materials. There is not much information about the first year or two so I would say pick this one up a little later. Also covers how to set up rooms and areas in your house in line with Montessori ideas. I felt that as the activities got older they became a little disjointed (how exactly does one use the sandpaper letter and moveable alphabet?), but all in all a solid resource for implementing the Montessori Method at home. It is certainly a good balance between philosophy/pedagogy and practical application.

 

 

Basic MontessoriBasic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman

If you want a manual for how to “do” Montessori at home this is it. Gettman walks you through a bit of general theory and then breaks out into activities. He will tell you what you need to do them, how to prepare, how to present, what their purpose is, and ways to further the activity. They are all “real” Montessori activities and you can either make your own Montessori materials or purchase them (he doesn’t seem to care if you use something homemade or store bought). The book is fairly comprehensive meaning it will provide you with a lot to do with your child, but it isn’t exhaustive. I don’t especially recommend starting here as it could feel very overwhelming. 

 

 

Montessori Blogs: You can look over in the right-hand column for most of the blogs I follow, but I’ll split them out here so you can see which ones are primarily Montessori.

 Reggio-Emilia Resources

Working in the Reggio WayWorking in the Reggio Way: A Beginners Guide for American Teachers by Julianne Wurm

I think this book did the best job of balancing providing an understanding of the theory behind the Reggio approach and the application in the classroom of that theory. Wurm really breaks things down so you can see how Reggio works and how you might implement it in your own classroom (at school or at home, although she doesn’t speak specifically to homeschooling). It really hit home for me how they design curriculum with a mixture of topics the teachers pick and topics the children are interested in. You can see my reviews/thoughts on this book here, here and here.

 

 

 

Authentic ChildhoodAuthentic Childhood: Experiencing Reggio Emilia in the Classroom by Susan Fraser

I would read this book in tandem with (or after) Working in the Reggio Way. This has a lot more theory and way less “how-to”. However, Fraser explains the theory really well and I think it helps to understand the theory behind the pedagogy so you can adapt it to your teaching. You can read my notes about it here.

 

 

 

 

P-B HomeschoolingProject Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert

Pickert never uses the name Reggio Emilia, but she advocates a Reggio-style homeschooling. The best part of the book is the anecdotal examples of how project-based learning works and for the set up section. If you need help designing and stocking your homeschool space this is the book to turn to. 

 

 

 

The Language of ArtThe Language of Art: Inquiry Based Studio Practices In Early Childhood Settings by Anne Pelo

I haven’t finished reading all the way through this one, but I can say what I have read and used is wonderful. This is a book of art explorations and activities. It teaches children about color and materials in a way that will allow them to add them to their toolbox for representing their learning. Pelo’s activities are so thorough. She will tell you what you need, what to do, how to set up, how to clean up, and how to document. She then includes an example of how she has documented the activity in her own classroom. 

 

 

Reggio Blogs: You can look over in the right-hand column for most of the blogs I follow, but I’ll split them out here so you can see which ones are primarily Reggio.

Waldorf Resources

Heaven on EarthHeaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer

This was the best book. We are not exactly a Waldorf family, but we do use some of their ideas. Even so there was so much here that I loved. Her approach to parenting is very gentle and loving and, one of my favorite Waldorf principles, encourages letting children play. There is a lot of information about how to structure your time at home and how to connect to your children. Heaven on Earth is very much a Waldorf-at-home handbook. You can see my notes on it here

 

 

 

Waldorf EducationWaldorf Education: A Family Guide by Mary Beth Rapisardo

Waldorf Education is actually a compilation of a lot of short articles originally published in various Waldorf newsletters. I liked it because it gave a nice overview of what kinds of things go on in Waldorf schools and why they approach things the way they do. I guess I wouldn’t say this was absolutely necessary reading, but it is worth it if you are curious and especially if you are considering a Waldorf school. 

 

 

 

 

Understanding WaldorfUnderstanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash

Petrash does a really great job explaining the head-heart-hands approach found in Waldorf education. This book isn’t especially Waldorf-y, meaning he doesn’t get into some of the more whimsical and mystical aspects of a Waldorf education. Nor does he detail the Waldorf curriculum. He does give an excellent overview of what it means to get a Waldorf education. See my review of the book here (it’s pretty thorough).

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Rainbow BridgeBeyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven by Barbara Patterson

I didn’t finish reading this one primarily because I didn’t like the format. Each chapter is a lecture or interview. This really gets into the meat of the Waldorf philosophy and introduces a lot of the concepts, especially anthroposophy, that seem kind of out there by traditional standards. If you are really interested in knowing more about Waldorf or are really into it, then I highly recommend this book. 

 

 

 

 

Waldorf Blogs: You can look over in the right-hand column for most of the blogs I follow, but I’ll split them out here so you can see which ones are primarily Waldorf.

 For more books that have shaped my parenting see my Parenting shelf:

Elizabeth's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (parenting shelf)