Montessori from the Start: Parenting Classes (birth to 4 years)

Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that tremendous brain, motor, and personality development occurs during the first three years of a child’s life. These observations, once considered revolutionary, are now widely accepted among early childhood professionals and researchers. At Forest Bluff School, we offer Montessori parenting classes about Dr. Montessori’s theories and her recommendations for parents of very young children.

Our Montessori from the Start parenting classes provide an introduction to Montessori education for families with young children through age three and parents who are expecting. Guided by Dr. Montessori’s work, as well as current research, we offer a series of lectures for parents and practical sessions for parents with their babies during the school year. Many of the topics that we cover in these sessions can also be found in the book Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home from Birth to Age Three, co-authored by Forest Bluff School co-founders Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen. See the Montessori from the Start Discussion Guide for an overview of topics. For lecture and practical dates please visit our Upcoming Events page.

Parenting Classes with a young mother and baby.
Teachers leading parenting classes with small children

Parenting Classes: Introduction

The Montessori from the Start: Morning Lecture Series, given by Paula Lillard Preschlack and Paula Polk Lillard, focuses on key aspects of Montessori theory, such as independence, coordinated movement, language acquisition, and organized thought. 

The Parent and Baby class is intended for parents and their children who are less than 16 months of age. During Parent and Baby sessions we work with each parent and child couple, giving developmentally appropriate advice and attending to parent questions and concerns. Home consultations are offered for parents who wish to receive customized suggestions for their young child’s home environment. 

Parent & Baby Class (birth to 16 mos.)

Bring your baby to explore a Montessori environment appropriate to their age and stage of development. We offer a series of morning sessions in the fall, winter and spring where you will gain pertinent knowledge concerning your child’s self-formation. Parents with young children ages 12 through 15 months come to our specially prepared model Parent and Child room for parenting classes from 8:30 to 9:00. Parents with babies ages newborn to 12 months come either from 8:30 to 9:00, or 10:30 to 11:30. 

Parenting classes includes helping parents understand Montessori from the Start.

Our Parent and Baby director, Lynn Lillard Jessen, circulates the room to answer your questions and work directly with you and your children. They show you how to help your young child benefit from the materials and environment offered for their exploration. You learn in detail about your child’s development in these vital early months, and how to match your home environment and family life to your child’s current needs. You also discover the benefits of Montessori principles and practices for your child’s education beginning at his or her birth, and how they provide a solid foundation for a complete education into young adulthood. Together with the Montessori from the Start Morning Lecture Series, the Parent and Baby classes are an invaluable introduction to Montessori education and the goals of Forest Bluff School.

*Our Parent and Baby class is free of charge. All parents and babies are welcome to join us! Please call Lynn Lillard Jessen at 847-295-8338 for more information, or to to reserve a space. For dates please visit our Upcoming Events page.

Morning Lecture Series (birth to 4 years)

Nothing is more awe-inspiring in our lives as parents and teachers than the emergence of a new human being, unique and unlike any other born in the past or to be born in the future. Children form themselves from within. Yet, as adults, we know that we bear a critical responsibility in providing an environment that meets a child’s needs for this miracle of transition from infancy to young adulthood. The goal of the Montessori From the Start Lecture Series is to give you knowledge and support for meeting this all-important task with confidence and joy.

Head of School Paula Lillard Preschlack speaks to Montessori parents at Forest Bluff School.

We invite you to join us for a series of informative and inspiring morning talks offered throughout the school year to parents of children from infancy through age three. In each session we discuss ideas and offer practical suggestions to help parents in meeting their children’s needs for: independence in self-care; coordinated movement of the whole body – and specifically the all-important hand and brain connection; language acquisition; and the gradual development of a self-controlled will. We explain basic Montessori concepts that help you to see your child’s self-formation in these key areas with fresh eyes and to support their development in simple, common sense ways.

No sooner have we figured out how to meet our children’s needs in one area than they are off and exploring a new one. By coming together in these parenting classes as a community of parents with each of their children in a different phase in development, parents are able to support and encourage each other. Parents who have been in similar situations to ours share their experiences and help us to keep present challenges in perspective. Taking part in these discussions when our children are young gives parents a base for understanding and participating in the Forest Bluff School community for years to come: a community that understands that the home environment is a critical aspect of any child’s education.

Please join our Montessori from the Start Parenting Classes by calling our school office at (847-295-8338). Additionally, to learn more about Montessori education and Forest Bluff School, you are welcome to schedule a tour involving visits to our classrooms at all age levels. You may also want to read Montessori from the Start, written by our co-founders, Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen. This classic introduction of the Montessori approach to the earliest ages of childhood serves the international community, and is translated into multiple languages. 

*Please note, there is no fee for our Morning Lecture Series. All parents are welcome to join us! Please call Lynn Jessen at 847-295-8338 to reserve a space. 

Home Consultations

Upon request, Lynn Lillard Jessen, co-founder of Forest Bluff School and co-author of Montessori from the Start: the Child at Home from Birth to Age Three, offers private home consultations for parents of children enrolled in our parenting classes. A home consultation gives parents valuable information on ways they can assist their child's optimal development at home.

Home consultations also provide an opportunity to ask individual questions and to focus on any specific concerns you might have about your child. Parents often find it helpful to discuss the needs of their other children in the home as well, and relationships among siblings. For more information, please call Lynn Jessen at 847-295-8338.  

We are grateful Forest Bluff exists; it offers an experience we feel blessed to give our children every day.

The support and community offered to us at Forest Bluff School is welcoming and encouraging. The lecture series and parent and tot classes help us learn and develop new activities and skills we should be focused on while raising our three little girls giving us tools, suggestions, and helpful tips. 

We also thoroughly enjoyed the Newborn Series with Stacy Keane--it was a wonderful way to take time out to prepare for our 3rd child, even when we “thought we knew it all.” There are tips and suggestions I learned in that class that improved my experience breastfeeding and managing a newborn with two toddlers that I use every day.