Montessori Learning in the 21st Century
A Guide for Parents and Teachers
Publication Date: November 2011
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This book fills a growing demand for contemporary books on Montessori education and how it applies to childhood learning and education in the 21st Century. Dr. Maria Montessori developed her theories and methods for educating young people more than a hundred years ago. Today, much of Dr. Montessori's empirical findings on how the childhood brain develops and works has now been proven accurate by recent neurological/ psychological studies on childhood learning.
M. Shannon Helfrich shares many experiences from her nearly 40 years as a Montessori teacher and teacher's trainer to help parents and Montessori teachers understand the factors that influence understanding and learning for children throughout their years of development. In a lay person's terms, the author explains how the brain develops and why interaction with the environment is essential at specific points in a child's development. She includes diagrams and photographs throughout the book.
The author also links Montessori's findings with the latest neuropsychological research, weaving back and forth between the centuries, making a strong case for the ongoing viability of a Montessori education in this brave new world. Helfrich offers many anecdotes from classroom experiences with children that support these findings.
In the beginning of her book, Helfrich asserts that Dr. Montessori was one of the great thinkers in the 20th century who changed the understanding of a child’s nature regardless of race, class or culture, and ultimately, an evolved understanding of our humanness. This book confirms Dr. Montessori's pivotal role in the history of childhood education internationally.
Montessori Learning in the 21st Century is a landmark commentary and parent education tool that makes Montessori education more accessible to a greater audience.
Shannon Helfrich's book is an important achievement for Montessori theory and practice because it is integrated with current neuroscientific findings. It demonstrates the validity of Montessori child psychology and methodology combined with an undeniable conclusion that Dr. Maria Montessori's century-old assumptions anticipated current brain research.
David J. Kahn
Executive Director, North American Montessori Teachers' Association
Many books have been written about Montessori’s method, this one is about living
with it. Throughout the book, Shannon Helfrich offers many insights,
stories, and simple explanations about how children grow and how Montessori
education facilitates their development. In short, Shannon invites us to take a
fascinating journey, accompanying our child from birth to maturity from the perspective
of the Montessori philosophy.
This thought-provoking and informative book encourages parents to reflect how best to interact with their children, as well as understand and offer a variety of ways to assist with their development. Shannon’s book represents her extensive knowledge and observations of how children develop, drawing on her many years of experience working with children of all ages and backgrounds. Her anecdotes are entertaining while also being insightful, and every parent new or not will gain inspiration and fresh perspectives from reading them.
Carmen Parker, Sydney, Australia, Montessori Teacher
This is a hugely needed book. It is a valuable resource for teachers and a guide for parents in understanding the factors that influence learning and development. It is full of facts, explanations for how the brain develops and why interaction with the environment is essential at specific points in development. Perhaps the author’s ability to then link this to Dr. Montessori’s work and feed it back to us with another level of understanding is the real genius of this book. This weaving back and forth between neuropsychological research, the impact of the environment and the work of Dr. Montessori provides the reader with what feels like story telling a spell-binding way to learn.
Bernadette Bialczak Perkins
Montessori Primary Teacher
Montessori Magnet School, Hartford