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Maria Montessori: 10 must-read books by the educationist

August 31, 2019

An Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori was best known for introducing the Montessori method of education – a child-centred educational approach based on scientific observations of children. The method is still prevalent in many schools across the world.

Born in Chiaravalle, Italy, Montessori began studying engineering but soon had a change of heart and enrolled in a medical school at the University of Rome. Subjects taught by Montessori during her time period were considered unusual. Such aspirations were considered not suitable for women. But she broke barriers and graduated with honours in medicine in 1896.

Recommended: Unique features of the Montessori Method

On the occasion of her 149th birthday, let’s take a look at the 10 best books authored by her that transformed the way we see education and society:

The Absorbent Mind

This book is the basis of the Montessori method of education. It was written in response to the crisis in American education. By this time, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation had adopted the Montessori method of teaching. The Absorbent Mind characterises the child’s most crucial developmental stage – the first six years.


The Montessori Method

This is a classic of educational philosophy that garners special attention today, with the traditional methods of early-childhood schooling having failed. The theories focus on the individuality of the child and nurturing their inherent joy of learning to create schools and other similar learning environments. 


The Secret of Childhood

In this book, Montessori describes a child with warmth and the exactness from the point of a scientist. She also discusses the array of materials and techniques needed to release their learning potential.



Discovery of the Child

In this book, Montessori describes the nature of a child and how her method of teaching can be adapted with a child’s desire to learn. She went beyond the conventions of those days to seek a new way of knowing and loving a child. The book also contains 16 pages of photographs. 



Education And Peace

Education and Peace by Maria Montessori is a collection of Montessori’s lectures. She talks about coping with the problems of the future of humanity. She also wrote about her passionate expression to her insights on the subject of “Educate for Peace” between World War I and World War II.  The book has also been translated by Helen Lane.


From Childhood to Adolescence: Including ‘Erdkinder’ and the Functions of the University

Montessori applied her genius to the educational concerns of the older child – the adolescent and even the mature university student. She looked at each level and explained how to facilitate their growth.


The Formation of Man

The book explains the psychology of a child during the first four years of their life. The formation of intelligence and human personality in a child are explained in detail. Besides, the processes and laws related to child psychology are followed in this book.


Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook

A short, illustrated guide, Montessori wrote this book in response to requests from thousands of American parents and teachers as to how to use the Montessori classroom materials. It shows how to set up a suitable learning environment for children.


Look at the Child: An Expression of Maria Montessori’s Insights

Containing some of the most insightful quotes by Montessori, the book is filled with candid photos of young children enjoying their everyday activities. It is a great book for to-be and new moms. 


Pedagogical Anthropology

Originally published in 1949, the Pedagogical Anthropology also contains lectures and work of Montessori. The nook was a bestseller and has been translated in several modern languages.

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