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TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL: Parenting for Authentic Success

Author: Madeline Levine

Reviewed by K.T. Korngold

If you’re looking for an argument in favor of investing your resources in non-competitive, hands-on, experience-based education (aka Montessori education), for your children, Madeline Levine’s latest book, Teach your Children Well will do it! Madeline Levine brings thirty years of clinical experience and research to explode the myth that good grades, test scores, and school acceptances should define successful parenting.

Levine feels the road to successful parenting begins early and encourages parents to be clear about core values and parenting choices to help children achieve authentic success. “Real success is always an inside job,” says Levine, “and is measured not by a report card but by the people our children become fifteen or twenty years down the line.”

Recently, there has been a lot of debate among parents and educators regarding the plight of America’s children due to the pressures of testing and changes in school curriculums. Children are experiencing increased emotional problems from an earlier age, demonstrating limited coping skills, being disengaged from their own learning, demonstrating feelings of hopelessness and despair (as seen in the documentary, “The Race to Nowhere”). Teach your Children Well is another side of the conversation. It is a compelling book that provides concrete ways to reverse these disheartening trends.

Levine shows how to engage in a meaningful parenting style that concentrates on developing a sense of purpose, well being, connection, and meaning in children’s lives.  Her book celebrates the kind of education and experiences that are central to the practices of authentic Montessori education — experiences that are based on cooperation rather than competition, process rather than product.

Teach Your Children Well is a call to action for all of us, as parents and members of our larger society.  At CME|NY we’ve seen an increase in interest in new and expanded Montessori programs, especially in public and charter schools and childcare programs. AMS (the American Montessori Society) recently launched the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, to help support the development and availability of such programs.  The recently launched “Building the Pink Tower” project (www.buildingthepinktower.org) is raising funds to create a documentary film that reimagines more schools and learning through the lens of Montessori education. In the current climate of concern and criticism about schools, Building the Pink Tower shines light on what more and more parents are asking for in education: eager learners, experiential, hands-on learning, creative thinking and problem solving, and collaborative work. If you haven’t see it yet, check out the link, and you’ll experience a moving, visual expression of how Montessori schools nurture the imagination of children and lay a solid foundation for success in life.

What a difference it would be if the values that we celebrate and promote in Montessori classrooms and schools, such as those we see here every day at the Montessori Children’s Center, were available to more children and families throughout the country.