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Babies Build Toddlers

Arc Montessori founder, Mariana Bissonnette, is nearly completion of her first book, Babies Build Toddlers: A Montessori Guide to Parenting the First 18 Months. From toys to screens, language to toiling, Mariana walks you through infancy to help you make the most of the child’s development (which, of course, makes parenting a lot easier).

Mariana’s Letter to the Reader

Hello! My name is Mariana Bissonnette and I am an early childhood educator with my AMI Montessori teaching credentials from birth to six years. I’m also a parent of two with whom I’ve followed developmental principles (Montessori) at home from birth. As an educator, it’s been amazing to see the capacities and potentials of the child in their first three years - it truly is an unparalleled time of growth and importance. 

But when I became a parent, I realized how incredibly difficult this early time was as well - I felt overwhelmed, vulnerable, and just. so. tired. This juxtaposition of something so important for the child and so difficult for the parent made me question how we were ever going to reach the child’s potential! Physician turned educator Dr. Maria Montessori considered this dilemma many years ago and came up with a solution… an assistant to infancy: an educator equipped with the knowledge of child development, the materials to support it and the presence to assist parents during these formative first few years. In this way, parents would have the support and the information to help their child reach their potential. Sounds amazing, right?

I trained as an Assistant to Infancy and upon completion of the program, left the preschool/kindergarten classroom I was leading to take on this role of “Assistant” by working directly with parents of infants. It was there that I saw how truly powerful this model really was. When parents were given more support, they had more time and energy to meet the developmental needs of their children. And when children’s developmental needs were being met, they became remarkably easier to parent! It was this amazing positive feedback loop where by supporting one, you support the other. Win-win-win.

With this in mind, I started the P.E.A.C.E. (Parent Education And Child Empowerment) program where families can access support and developmental information at Montessori schools and community centers so that they are empowered to understand and support the development their child is trying to do. It is this translation of the child’s development that Dr. Montessori so brilliantly discovered and described, that inspired me to write Babies Build Toddlers. It is my hope that you - the emerging parent, the interested reader, and the fellow educator - find roots of knowledge about what the child is trying to do and are equally inspired to bear witness to the incredible things these children can achieve. Enjoy!
— Mariana Bissonnette, AMI 0-6 & parent of two