Paula Lillard, director of a Montessori school ranging in age from 18 months to fifteen years, provides a clear and cogent introduction to the Montessori program for the elementary and later years. In detailed accounts, Lillard shows how children acquire the skills to answer their own questions, learn to manage freedom with responsibility, and maintain a high level of intellectual stimulation by using the Montessori method. This is an essential handbook for parents and teachers who have chosen the Montessori alternative for the older child.
Lillard (Montessori: A Modern Approach) brings over a decade of experience as a Montessori teacher and administrator to this overview of Maria Montessori's teaching methods which, says Lillard, ``balance freedom with responsibility in the classroom and also set high standards of intellectual and social development for children. Lillard uses graphs to explain the fundamental difference between ``regular'' education and Montessori, showing that regular education offers an ascending, relentless scale of information and responsibility while virtually ignoring the pivotal years between birth and Kindergarten. She contrasts this with Montessori which considers the ages from birth through 24 years, and within those argues that there will be four periods of ``intense change'' in the child as well as four periods of ``slower pace.'' Lillard, co-founder, director and teacher atthe Forest Bluff School in Lake Bluff, Illinois, draws heavily upon classroom anecdotes and examples, bringing these theories to life by discussing real children and their very real imaginations, words and artowrk. Teachers of ``regular'' classrooms would gain insight from Lillard's ideas; any adult interested in children and education would find this book an important link between the ideal of liberal education and the reality of the United States' collapsing school system.