students studying Montessori 0-3


Course: The Study of Human Development

This course includes the best "sex education" information we can imagine. Their research includes the study of the prenatal months and the development of the child from birth to three years. They use Michael Olaf's The Joyful Child as their Human Development textbook.

Photo: Students studying The Joyful Child, Essential Montessori for Birth to Three Years

Dear Susan,

Today is our last day of school in the Montessori School of Lake Forest Adolescent Program, and it's a good time to catch you up on the all-round success of using The Joyful Child as our Human Development "textbook".

Students are asked to return the few textbooks we use (Math and Latin). Most of them have come in to ask me where to return The Joyful Child. And each face has lit up when I remind them that The Joyful Child is their's to keep. Once girl just told me that she will keep hers until she becomes a parent, and put it to use.

During the middle of the year, a student who had difficulty expressing his emotions was often restless, and often pressured by other students to settle down. He was getting upset. At that time we were reading the story in The Joyful Child about the child who kept trying to climb on the piano to reach the statue, and about her mother's efforts to stop her. In a private conversation this boy told me how valuable The Joyful Child was to him, because "I really understand now how confused and angry a baby can feel." This understanding of how a baby might feel the same way he was feeling was a first step for him in understanding his own feelings and expressing them. Seeing himself in the mirror like that seemed to allow him to begin to accept himself (For how could one not accept a baby's feelings?), and after this conversation he became calmer and worked more steadily to communicate.

During our last Human Development class, last week, I asked students for feedback on using. The Joyful Child. Here are their comments.

The Joyful Child adds so much to our Human Development class. Its use brings alive the imaginative challenge of thinking about parenting, and it guides adolescents to think kindly about themselves and others.

Thank you so very much.
Ann Jordahl
Montessori School of Lake Forest

Student Comments:

I understand a lot more about the experience of parenting, and about children.

I understand about being a parent better; I feel prepared to be a father.

I appreciated seeing the practical applications of [Montessori] theory.

I saw how hard it is to be a parent. There is so much to keep in mind.

I learned how important it is to speak so a child will understand (to avoid negatives, and to demonstrate).

I look at children differently know. Instead of wondering why they are doing something (like crying), I wonder what they are doing (what does the crying communicate?).

I now look at parenting really differently.

I am using some of what I've learned in my own life, with a young child I know. I now give him limited choices, and it helps his behavior a lot.

It changed the way I look at children. Now I want to understand them (before I was annoyed and dismissive).

Compared to other parenting books I've looked at (my mom has tons), The Joyful Child is better written and much more insightful about children.

I am looking forward to dealing with having a young child. I expect to enjoy it.

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