Holiday Gift: FREE Montessori E-book, December 7-11

Time and Understanding are the two most valuable gifts we can give our children over the holidays. The book Aid to Life, Montessori Beyond the Classroom gives parents suggestions for both. Here are some of the subjects of this, the latest book in the Montessori series by Susan Mayclin Stephenson.

For Parents: 80 pages of questions and answers from parents, from a Northern California newspaper column. Chapters “Montessori at home, 0-6” and “Montessori at home, 6-18”.

For Teachers: Susan’s experience teaching in a private traditional British/Peruvian girls’ school in Lima, Peru with NO Montessori materials. A peek inside a wonderful established Montessori primary (age 2.5-6.5) class in London, England.

For Everyone: Susan’s experiences helping others to understand, or make use of, Montessori in such situations as a school for the blind in Tibet, a meeting with the Dalai Lama in Sikkim, a school for children with severe disabilities in Russia, an orphanage in Morocco, an AMIESF conference in Thailand (where she shares projects by colleagues helping mothers of babies born in prison, and Montessori for the elderly and forgetful.) And finally, an outline of stages of development to help us understand the differences in physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual needs of children from birth, young adults, and adults.

The days that the e-book will be available free on Amazon are December 7-11 California time. Because many people from around the world will be participating it is best if you plan on downloading the free book on December 8-10.

This is a 1992 picture of Susan with Dr. Silvana Montanaro—co-director of training with Judi Orion— during the AMI Assistants to Infancy course in Denver, Colorado. The picture was taken by colleague Natia Meehan. Susan and Dr. Montanaro became good friends and she participated in much of Susan’s writings from that time, even contributing the introduction to the book The Joyful Child.

Dr. Montanaro was adamant about making one’s important points through pictures as much as possible because, as she realized so early, “We are now a visual society.” Susan has followed this advice in all eight books, which has contributed to their being the favorite “first Montessori books” in many countries.

However, when there are many pictures in any e-book, it is sometimes necessary to have patience with the formatting, of text and pictures, on one’s device.

For this reason, the print version of this book will be discounted during these days
from US$18.95 to US$14.95.

If you would like to participate participate . . .

CLICK HERE on the special dates: FREE AID TO LIFE E-BOOK


FOR THE COMPLETE SERIES OF EIGHT BOOKS, including links and recommendations


Recently Susan was given an award by this group for her 50 years of service. Here is the website of Graduate Women International, the organization which was begun in the early 1900s to empower women for lifelong education:


Here is the English translation of text of the recognition which was given by the Paraguay branch of GWI, with attendees from Spain and all over Latin America:

IN RECOGNITION of Susan Mayclin Stephenson for her 50 years of dedication to Montessori and her values of Education Without Borders.

Over the past fifty years, Susan has carried out a variety of Montessori jobs in thirty-two countries on six continents. Her goal has always been to learn as much as she teaches, and to understand Montessori through the eyes of the people she works with, and be able to help in as many ways as possible. Each of her eight books, based on this work, shows Montessori from a different perspective. Two of them have already been translated into Spanish.

Susan has AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) diplomas for ages 0-3, 3-6 and 6-12. She has a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from San Francisco State University, a Master’s in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore, and studied multiple intelligence with Howard Gardner at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

She has worked as a counselor for teens, administrator of a Montessori school, guide for parents of infants and toddlers at home, and teacher for children and young adults, ages two to eighteen in Montessori environments. She is a teacher, school consultant, and oral examiner of AMI for teacher training courses. She has been invited by educational departments of national governments in places such as Thailand, Mongolia, Peru, Colombia, Russia, Sikkim and Romania to discuss the use of the Montessori principles in their schools.

Susan is a mother and grandmother. She and her husband homeschooled their youngest son during primary, high school and high school. They live in Northern California, close to the coast and surrounded by redwood trees.

It is our great honor to recognize Susan with this award from Graduate Women International.


In 1899 Maria Montessori represented Italy at the International Feminist Congress in London, where there were 500 other speakers. Here is a quote from her speech:

Progress leads to the invention of machines that substitute for woman’s work. Now [women] must apply their energies differently. Instead of speaking with their hearts, they will speak with their brains. I hope that all women will be enamored of scientific reason which does not suffocate the voice of the heart but rather explains the reasons of the heart and supports it.

While in London Montessori met with physicians specializing in special education, and visited schools based on the methods of her French mentor Edouard Sequin. For the first time, she saw the materials that will prove to open the path to independent actions and thought in children, to social-emotional learning, to intellectual and moral education: the dressing frames, the materials to teach two and three dimensional geometric forms, the beginning language and math materials, all of which were invented half a century earlier. 

In 1906, a year before she opened the first Montessori kindergarten, casa dei bambini, in the slums of Rome, she published a proclamation inviting all Italian women to join the illegal initiative to register to vote, her words: All women, rise up! Your first duty in this social movement is to demand the vote.

Thirteen years later, in 1919, Graduate Women International was founded. I have not been able to find out if Montessori was aware of this movement but surely, she would have supported it. Throughout her life Montessori stood for the discovery of all that is good in people, and supported the best of development, and education, of children and adults.

Here are words from the mission of graduate women International: Promote international cooperation, friendship, peace and respect for human rights for all, irrespective of their age, race, nationality, religion, political opinion, gender and sexual orientation or another status.

In our Montessori work we see clearly that when the needs of the infant, the father and mother, the child, the young adult, the grandparents, the extended family, and every member of society are met, people can see each other without prejudice, they begin to listen to each other. They hear each other. This is the first step to peace.

Thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this great work to support the education of girls. It is an honor to be recognized by you. I wish you all the best in this important work throughout the world.


Concentration, Where the Magic Happens

Circle Time—Collective Lessons?

During my first year of teaching, an older and more experienced teacher at our Montessori school in San Francisco, California, told us that we should have a 30-40 minute “group” lesson at the end of each morning, with all of the children sitting in a circle as we sang songs, had news time, and sometimes gave a lesson that usually would be for one child at a time. I had not heard of such a thing in my AMI 3-6 course in London but I respected this teacher so I followed her advice.

A few years later, Margot Waltuch, who had worked with Maria Montessori for many years, was the consultant for my own school in Michigan (and later for one of my 6-12 classes in California). Together we watched the class through a two-way mirror, twenty-nine children from age 2.3 through 6 years, with no adult in sight. They were calm, busy, concentrating, helping or teaching each other, with clearly no need for adult intervention. She turned to me and said, “They don’t seem to need you.” This surprised me because that was what I expected, as I followed my teacher trainers’ advice to the letter. This was what I had seen in schools in London during my training.

Then, after two hours I gathered all of the children for “group” sometimes called “circle time.” It was always a bit uncomfortable, for how can one expect to meet the interests of such a wide age range? How can one expect children to sit still when they would rather be moving?

Margot turned to me, with a rather disgusted look on her face, which I noticed even though it was subtle, she said, “Did you learn to do this on your training?” What a relief her words were to me!

That was my last scheduled and required group for all of my teaching years. Even in teaching 6-12 classes, beyond the five “great lessons” that open the door to the elementary work (given in the first two weeks, where all children were invited to attend but not required) I never required a group lesson. Continue reading

FREE Montessori Infant Community Video

Infant Community (age 1-2.5) Video
+ Maria and Mario Montessori


The DVD “The Wonderful Two’s” has sold for $40-$45 for years. Now it is available free on YouTube.

Seeing these children in action reveals the potential of the human being, from a very young age, to focus and concentrate, to act and think independently, and to respect and care for each other and the environment—changing the “terrible two’s” into the “wonderful two’s.” Continue reading

Independence, Concentration, Compassion – Child of the World

Child of the World:
Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+

The e-book version of this book, which is considered one of the best introductions to Montessori for parents and teachers, reached over 2000 people around the world in July, 2021. For more information and to see the complete Table of Contents: CHILD

The author’s website: SUSAN

Chapter: Age 3-6, Caring for Oneself, for Others, and for the Environment

Boys at a Montessori school in Bhutan preferring to work on fixing the school sidewalk than to play. Continue reading