Montessori Books: A Community Conversation
September 19, 2021
On Sunday, September 19, AMI/USA hosted a discussion featuring the authors of recently released Montessori books including:
Mariana Bissonnette – Babies Build Toddlers
Simone Davies & Junnifa Uzodike – The Montessori Baby
Erica Moretti – The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children’s Rights
Elizabeth Slade – Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools
The conversation was moderated by Dr. Mira Debs (Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice). The session introduced these cutting-edge books to the community, discussed the process of getting books about Montessori education published (through traditional publishers – both academic and trade – as well as through self-publishing) and offered time for audience questions.
Meet the Authors
Mariana Bissonnette (she/her) is an early childhood educator with AMI Montessori teaching credentials for ages 0-6 and has extensive work with children and parents as a parenting coach and classroom teacher. After seeing a gap between parents and early childhood educators in the first years of life, Mariana founded a community program, PEACE (Parent Education and Child Empowerment) to connect with parents through life’s earliest and most critical stage of development. In this program, Mariana has worked with over 1400 families with 0-18 month infants with in-home visits, drop-in support groups and parenting workshops (and has parented two of her own). Mariana was born, raised, and is currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband (AMI 3-18 educator), two children and dog. Babies Build Toddlers is Mariana’s first book, which she self-published in December 2020.
Simone Davies is the author of “The Montessori Toddler” and co-author of “The Montessori Baby” book with Junnifa Uzodike. She has been working in the classroom as an AMI Montessori educator since 2004 and has a popular blog and podcast, “The Montessori Notebook”. She is also mother to two young adults. Finding Montessori helped her so much when raising her own children and it’s now her passion to help other parents introduce these ideas in their homes too. She was looking to find a way to be with her kids that wasn’t about bossing them about, threatening them and bribing them. Or giving them free rein either. And she wanted them to have a positive experience of school, not just to pass tests, but to love learning. Simone currently runs parent-child Montessori classes in Amsterdam at her school Jacaranda Tree Montessori.
Junnifa Uzodike is an AMI trained Montessori guide for the 0-3, 3-6 and 6-12 levels. She is the co-author of “The Montessori Baby” book with Simone Davies. She is also the founder and head of school at Fruitful Orchard Montessori in Abuja, Nigeria. Since discovering Montessori in 2011, Junnifa has continued to build her knowledge and experience in child development using Montessori principles. She has three children whom she has raised using Montessori principles from birth. Junnifa’s Montessori work includes guiding children at Fruitful Orchard, mentoring teachers and closest to her heart is supporting parents in implementing Montessori from birth. She inspires parents around the world to bring Montessori into their lives by sharing her Montessori journey and offering courses and other resources via her blog www.nduoma.com and her instagram page @montessori_nduoma. Junnifa serves on the board of the Association Montessori Internationale.
Erica Moretti is an Assistant Professor of Italian at the Fashion Institute of Technology-SUNY. Her research — rooted in biopolitics, gender and sexuality studies, and critical theory — focuses on pacifism, refugees and displacement, and humanitarianism in Modern Italy. She has published on Progressive-era assimilation policies in the United States, on the Italian feminist movement, and on Italian colonialism, among other topics. Moretti’s first book, The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children’s Rights (University of Wisconsin Press, 2021), reframes Montessori’s pacifism as the foundation of her educational activism, emphasizing her singular vision of the classroom as a springboard to reshaping society. Moretti is currently working on Family Reunifications at the End of the Empire, an inquiry into how population movements (including displaced children) have tested the boundaries of diplomacy, humanitarianism, and decolonization. Taking as its departure point the children of Italian nationals in Libya, the book examines postwar transformations in theories of kinship and of women and children’s rights, within the analytical framework of Catholic humanitarianism.
Moretti’s work has been supported by awards and residential fellowships provided by the Barbieri Endowment Grant in Modern Italian History, the Center for Italian Modern Art, the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies (NYU), the Remarque Institute (NYU), the Leonard Hastings Schoff and Suzanne Levick Schoff Memorial Fund (Columbia U), and the Laura Bassi Foundation. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award in Scholarship and Creative Activities. Moretti has written on European history, politics, and ideas for various magazines and newspapers, including The Washington Post and Il Manifesto.
Use the discount code PEACE30: https://uwpress.wisc.edu/
Elizabeth G. Slade is an author and educator with thirty-five years of experience working in Montessori education. She has worked in both independent and public Montessori schools in New England and spent six years at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector working with public Montessori schools across the country. She now serves as co-executive director of Public Montessori in Action, an organization created to ensure fully implemented Montessori education for children, families, and educators of the global majority.
Get 25% off retail price on Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools in the AMI/USA Bookstore! The eBook will be available within 24 hours of purchase. Print copies will be shipped after the September 18 event and will be shipped separately from other books.
Moderated by Dr. Mira Debs
Dr. Mira Debs is the Executive Director of Yale University’s Education Studies Program and a lecturer in the Department of Sociology. Dr. Debs studies Montessori in the context of American and international education, school choice, school integration activists, public policy, and progressive public schools. Research from her book, Diverse Parents, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in an Era of School Choice (Harvard Education Press, 2019) has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Education Week and the Christian Science Monitor. She is the co-editor of the Bloomsbury Handbook of Montessori Education, and she is collaborating with AMI and colleagues on an updated global Montessori census. Dr. Debs was a public high school teacher, she is a founding Board Member of Elm City Montessori School and one of the co-founders of Montessori for Social Justice.