Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self (Giveaway)

Each year, the American Montessori Society names a “Living Legacy” in what they describe as “an annual tribute to an individual whose dedication and leadership has made a lasting impact on the AMS community.” Last year, that Living Legacy was Sonnie McFarland. As a fellow Coloradoan, I know Sonnie by reputation and had the privilege of attending one of her conferences on peace education in Denver some years ago. I was both impressed and inspired by her passion for helping adults recognize, honor, and encourage the growth of the spirit of love that exists in every child.

Many of Sonnie’s ideas on Peace Education are described in her book Honoring the Light of the Child, but what I’d like to share with you today is a new book she has written with her husband, Dr. Jim McFarland, Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self. Sonnie was kind enough to agree to send me a copy of the book to read and review, and to share an additional copy for one of you, which you can enter to win at the bottom of this post. My receipt of the book was facilitated by Jim and Sonnie’s adult son, which I take as a testament to their parenting and the loving relationship with their children that it facilitated.

There are a number of books available that describe specific practices that parents interested in Montessori can adopt. There are also a number of free resources online, and all of this is wonderful. As a passionate Montessorian myself, however, I have long felt like something was missing. Those of you who have been readers here for awhile know that I’m more interested in implementing Montessori philosophy into natural family life than in designing a Montessori home school. When the focus is on materials and activities, we stand to miss so much!

As a Montessori certified teacher with vast experience, a parent educator, a mother of adult children, and now a grandmother, Sonnie is well versed in both the Montessori method and Montessori philosophy as they relate to teachers and to parents. When I read her work, I feel that I have found a kindred spirit, albeit an older and wiser one. The first two parts of Montessori Parenting focus on discovering and unveiling the “Authentic Child”, or the child who is allowed to follow his natural process of development unhindered. In this first part of the book, Sonnie and Jim describe some lesser known aspects of Montessori philosophy and how they relate to the child’s process of development. They beautifully describe the value of helping children to see themselves as a part of the whole universe, and to develop an understanding, over time, of the interconnectedness of all living things.

The third part of the book focuses on “Creating Nurturing Home Environments”, and I was delighted to see that it focused not only on the physical environment, offering ideas for creating a living space that honors and empowers the child, but that it also looks at ways we as parents can create nurturing mental, emotional, and spiritual environments for our children. The final part of the book is entitled, “Being an Authentic Parent,” and it covers a number of ways that we can change our own thinking, nurture ourselves, and modify our parenting practices and ways of relating to our children in a way that helps them stay in touch with their true nature.

Sonnie and Jim draw not only on Montessori’s words, but also on their thorough knowledge of child development. They discuss and integrate concepts from psychology like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and also include nonviolent communication practices. The breadth of their knowledge obviously goes far beyond Montessori’s work, and they do a wonderful job of pulling together a number of strategies and ideas that parents can use to support their goal of parenting respectfully and collaboratively. I don’t necessarily agree with every last suggestion, but I appreciate the knowledge behind each one and found that even in cases where my personal implementation would be slightly different from what Sonnie and Jim suggest, the basis for their recommendations is clear and useful.

More than anything, I am thrilled to see a book on parenting with the Montessori philosophy with the simple goal of supporting children as they develop and reveal to us their authentic selves. It’s not about molding our children to fit our ideal, or even about academic success – it’s about giving them the freedom and support to be exactly who they are. I’m so grateful to Sonnie and Jim for bringing that to light!

Buy It
Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self is available for $25 through Shining Mountains Press. To purchase it, you can visit the site here.

Win It
You can enter to win your own copy of Montessori Parenting by commenting on this post to let me know why you’d like to win. Be sure to click the “do it” button on the rafflecopter widget after commenting so that your entry will be recorded. You can earn plenty of extra entries by following the directions in the widget below. This giveaway is open worldwide.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Montessori Parenting free of charge for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was promised or provided. All opinions expressed are my own, and I don’t benefit directly from purchases of this or any other item. I strive to choose only items I think my readers will enjoy, from sellers I can recommend with a clear conscience. See my full disclosure on the About page.

Giveaway linked up with Living Montessori Now and Hobo Mama Reviews.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 thoughts on “Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self (Giveaway)

  1. Lorena

    I wish I could afford all the books I want to read! My local library has a couple of Maria Montessori’s books (which I’ve borrowed) but that’s about it.

  2. Anna

    This looks like a great book. I am always on the look out for books that help me parent better. I need all the help I can get.

    1. melissa Post author

      That’s another thing I really liked about the book – that it’s relevant to parents of older children, too! So many Montessori books for parents focus only on the early years.

  3. Alisha

    This just looks exactly like the resource i’ve been looking for–the missing component that isn’t about the pink tower and whatever, but more about life.

  4. Discovering Montessori

    I would like this book because I am about reading anything that has to do with bringing the Montessori philosophy into my home. From your review it sounds like something I should of already read. Thank you for this opportunity.

  5. Rach

    I love the fact it focusses on the “whole” child, homelife and relationships. It disturbs me when academics or accelerated development is seen as the main goal of education. I’m not sure if I can enter this comp, being in the UK, but I’ll enter anyway!

    1. melissa Post author

      Total oversight on my part – I neglected to mention, but it’s definitely open worldwide! Glad you went for it. I’ll go add those details in now :)

  6. courtney @ larking.

    Jumping up and down with excitement about this — I am so in the market for a book like this one! I’ll be checking out this book title regardless (but of course winning the giveaway would be lovely!).

  7. Amy

    I would like to win this book because I am interested in the fact that the authors relate Montessori principles to other thinkers. I love drawing ideas from as many sources as possible and finding similarities and differences in their approaches to see what works best and what most supports my beliefs.

  8. Amy @ You Shall Go Out with Joy

    This sounds like a great book. I really know nothing about Montessori philosophy, but I always like the way you talk about the ideas on your blog. I would love to get a bit more of an understanding about it all. I love this: “offer[s] ideas for creating a living space that honors and empowers the child, but that it also looks at ways we as parents can create nurturing mental, emotional, and spiritual environments for our children”.

  9. teresa

    oooh, I would love to read this book. So, I’m in for the contest. Maybe I’ll buy it otherwise…
    It looks like just what I’ve been wanting to read.
    Now if you could just supply the brain needed to focus on it!

  10. Rosann

    As a fellow Montessori Educator – trainer of future Montessori Teachers, I have used many of Sonnie’s books as part of my training. I would like to have a copy “Montessori Parenting” by Jim and Sonnie McFarland to add to the training’s library to share with perspective Montessorians

  11. Nikole H.

    My daughter just started a Montessori preschool program — I’d love to reinforce her experiences at home! ngiraldi at gmail dot com

  12. elspeth

    Just found your blog via shiningmountain on fb. I would really love to win this book of Sonnie’s. I have ‘Honoring the light’ which I use regularly with the children in our Children’s House here in the UK. I love this book, from my own perspective and because our children really enjoy the activities and treat each other with kindness and compassion (most of the time!) – I’m sure at least in part to Sonnie’s wonderful work. Now here’s a book that I can share with our parents too – and I think there might just be a nugget or two of enlightenment for my own family!

  13. Natalie

    I’d love to read this book to learn more about the Montessori philosophies and how to implement these in my relationship with my daughter. I love reading about your life with Annabelle, and it inspires me to enrich my own knowledge of attachment parenting. I do a lot of reading of blogs and pages online, but there’s something wonderful about being able to curl up in an armchair and turn the pages, reading the words on paper. This book would make some very educational supper-time reading!

  14. Brooke M Adametz

    I’ve always been interested in the Montessori style of parenting and education, but unfortunately the Montessori school in our area isn’t in our budget! Learning to use some methods at home would be wonderful!

  15. Melanie Thornton

    I am studying a diploma in Montessori Early Years education and trying to read as much as I can about the Montessori Method so would love to win this book to add to my collection.

  16. Natalie

    Back to do the rest of the entries (when I returned, it looked like I hadn’t done any of the rafflecopter entries, even though I’d left a post.. my apologies if I already had done the rafflecopter though!)

    I visited the ‘about us’ section, and found that Sonnie McFarland became a mother and Montessori teacher in the same year, 35 years ago, and that she is now the chair of the Peace Committee of the American Montessori Society.

  17. carly glover

    I am just starting to really get into the montessori way and could really use more guidence. id love to win this book!


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