Montessori Parenting:
Unveiling the Authentic Self

We are honored that the Independent Book Publishers Association has recognized this book as one of the top three parenting books in the nation.

This award winning book weaves together such brilliant minds as, Abraham Maslow, Daniel Golman, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall Rosenberg and Dr. Maria Montessori among others to teach adults how to relate to and work with children in a nonthreatening yet highly effective manner. The techniques described in this book allow both the adult and the child to be happy together and each feel that their needs are being met. Montessori Parenting is simply a term we use to describe a style or approach to working with children; it is not necessary to be familiar with the Montessori educational system to reap the benefits outlined in this book.

In This Book Learn To:

  • Be calm and confident with children
  • Constructively respond to children’s behavior
  • Help children develop inner discipline
  • Enhance children’s authentic nature
  • Compassionately communicate with children
  • Create environments that enhance children’s natural developmental process

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgements

PART I – DISCOVERING THE AUTHENTIC CHILD

Chapter 1 – Montessori’s Pathway of Discovery
Chapter 2 – The Child’s Place in the Universe
Chapter 3 – The Child’s Authentic Nature

PART II – UNVEILING THE AUTHENTIC CHILD

Chapter 4 – The Volition Phase
Chapter 5 – The Engagement Phase
Chapter 6 – The Integration Phase
Chapter 7 – The Love Phase

PART III – CREATING NURTURING HOME ENVIRONMENTS

Chapter 8 – Creating the Physical Environment
Chapter 9 – Creating the Mental Environment
Chapter 10 – Creating the Emotional Environment
Chapter 11 – Creating the Spiritual Environment

PART IV– BEING AN AUTHENTIC ADULT

Chapter 12 – Centering Skills for Adults
Chapter 13 – Parenting Styles and Practices
Chapter 14 – Communicating with Compassion
Chapter 15 – Facilitating Inner-Discipline
Chapter 16 – Understanding Children’s Behavior

References
Index
About the Authors
Gift Ordering Sheet

FOREWORD
Montessori Parenting – Unveiling the Authentic Self is a must read for all parents and teachers of young children. Dr. Jim and Sonnie McFarland have captured the essence of the Montessori philosophy especially the salient points that parents need to know to understand their children. Dr. Maria Montessori knew the real secrets of childhood, which are articulated so well in this book written especially for parents.
Parents will learn about the VEIL Model that outlines children’s natural process of development.  The components of the model are: Volition, Engagement, Integration, and Love.  These four aspects repeat themselves each time a child completes a cycle of learning.  At the completion of each learning cycle the child is enthused because a portion of his Authentic Self is unveiled.  This enthusiasm naturally motivates him to involve himself in the repeating cycles of the VEIL Model.  Parents will understand that by trusting the child’s natural process of development they are facilitating the manifestation of the child’s potential; thus unveiling the child’s Authentic Self.
Sonnie and Jim share practical ways to prepare the home environment so that it embodies Montessori philosophy in all the domains – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A variety of strategies from Maria Montessori, well-known psychologists, and current researchers are included in the book and provide excellent resources for parents.  The Native American Medicine Wheel is used as a metaphor to help parents understand children’s behavior and support children’s journey of understanding themselves.  This unique approach sets this book apart from typical parenting books.
An important point that most authors forget is the preparation of the adult. For adults to be truly present for their children and be the appropriate role models, they must first work on preparing themselves. Information on centering skills, parenting styles, communication strategies, facilitating inner-discipline and understanding children’s behavior are tools given in the book to help parents increase their repertoire of knowledge.  Each chapter concludes with reflective questions for parents to ponder and personalize for their own children and unique situations.
Reading this insightful book will help parents understand the creative process of child development and thoughtfully facilitate the unveiling of their child’s authentic nature. The child, who is allowed to unfold and blossom, will experience the joy and peace of actualizing his potentials.  Indeed, within the heart of the child lies the hope for peace in the world that we all want for our children and grandchildren’s futures.
-Betsy Coe, Ph.D.
PREFACE

All people, especially children, when manifesting the greater Self within,
are Shining Mountains, glowing with eternal promise.1
-Dr. Jim McFarland

Children come to us as loving souls whose ultimate purpose in life is to manifest their potentials and contribute meaningfully to the world. As parents we have the greatest influence on whether or not our child will be able to successfully unveil his Authentic Self and share the beautiful gifts hidden within him. Our most important responsibility is to recognize the essential beauty within our child and facilitate his natural process of development. To successfully accomplish this task, we must first understand our child’s authentic nature and the inner resources within him that naturally lead him toward self-actualization.

Over a hundred years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori discovered some key principles and practices that transformed the lives of children in almost “magical” ways. She witnessed disgruntled, unruly and competitive children transform into happy, thoughtful and cooperative children. Her discoveries were so dramatic that it created a worldwide educational revolution that continues to this day. While these principles and practices are being successfully used in Montessori Schools, their benefit is not limited to Montessori educational settings. Understanding and implementing this wisdom in the home will bring the same type of transformation to the members of the family. We will see competitive behavior transform into cooperation, we will see selfishness transform into selflessness, and we will see rudeness transform into thoughtfulness.

The principles of Montessori Parenting do not imply that a child must attend a Montessori school for the ideas shared in this book to be useful in the home. The philosophy, principles and practices are universal and applicable for all children and their families, regardless of their educational choices or cultural backgrounds. If a child does attend a Montessori school, however, he will definitely benefit from having consistency between both his home and school setting. Teachers will also benefit from reading this book as it provides valuable information to share with parents so the children can benefit from a consistent approach at school and at home.

The Montessori approach to parenting is not a band aid we apply to stop the bleeding or a tool we use to fix what is broken. Instead it is a holistic approach that includes all of the members of the family and addresses the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of each person in the home. When someone in the family changes his behavior, it affects the behavior of all of the family members. Of course as a parent, when we change our behavior our entire family is influenced.

This book addresses the authentic nature of our child and how we can support the developmental processes that he naturally engages in to unveil his Authentic Self. In addition there are practical suggestions to help us prepare meaningful environments that support our child’s natural maturation. To help us more consistently operate from our Authentic Self, the book offers practical suggestions to help us manage our physical, mental and emotional states so that we can more consistently act from wisdom and love. Understanding our parenting style and its effect on our child is included as well as thoughtful discussions on effective communication and inner-discipline. Finally, the book offers insight into the root causes of our child’s misbehavior and ways to help him reconnect to his Authentic Self and the resulting thoughtful behaviors.

The sub title of the book, Unveiling the Authentic Self, not only implies the gradual unveiling of the child’s Authentic Self but the unveiling of our Authentic Self as well as the Authentic Self of all members of the family. The Authentic Self is the true nature of all people. It is the Spirit of love that dwells in the heart and inspires wisdom, compassion and peace. Through her work, Maria Montessori, recognized the connection between the child’s Spirit, his potentials and a peaceful world. In her words, “Nurturing the Spirit is the route to unveiling the human potential. The transformation of a peaceful world is obtained through realization of the human potential.”2

It is our hope that the wisdom in this book will inspire and help us, as parents and teachers, to provide each child whose life we touch with the love and support he requires to unveil his Authentic Self, share his special talents and create a more peaceful world.

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