The issue of discipline is often framed as an alternative of strictness vs. leniency. But mere strictness inculcates mere blind obedience (which can someday turn into blind rebellion). And mere leniency inculcates blind indulgence in emotion.


As Cushman explains, a popular contemporary solution to this dilemma is to subject the child to peer pressure—pressure to conform to the behavior approved of by the group of other children. Of course, this solution achieves the worst of both worlds—teaching the child blind obedience to the authority of blind emotion.


In this book, Cushman offers a better solution, used by Maria Montessori and honed by Cushman over decades of teaching and parenting. This solution, which applies in the home as well as the classroom, is based on the fact that every child possesses the faculties of reason and free will, the faculties that will guide adulthood. In developing these faculties, the child develops “independence, not obedience.” The child “develops self-discipline.” (P. 97)


Much ingenuity of this solution lies in specific techniques and their overall integration. For those specifics, read the book.

Ronald Pisaturo, author

I believe that this is a very important and valuable book. As someone who has a great deal of knowledge about the Montessori Method and who helped the au. of the book with a few edits, I highly recommend it. The theme is that for children to gain real self-esteem and grow into educated, productive adults, they need a structured environment (including discipline) at home and at school. Cushman rejects the false dichotomy of laissez-faire (kids should do whatever they want) and authoritarianism (do what I say because I said so) and promotes freedom within limits. It also rejects social conformity as the ideal in favor of independent judgment based on reason. It is a powerful antidote to classroom chaos as well a goldmine for parents, many of whom today are terrified to hold their children to standards on the grounds that their children might get upset. There are three invaluable appendices with tips on how to effectively handle numerous home and school situations. There is an added benefit to the book: one can readily see a connection between the widely-touted, anti-punishment philosophies which are discussed in the book and the incivility of so much of our culture. This book is the antidote.

Edwin A. Locke, Ph. D.

“Effective Discipline the Montessori Way” is a great resource for parents wanting to raise well-mannered children. The discipline techniques discussed are consistent with the Montessori philosophy of teaching children at their development readiness.

All the discipline methods were described in detail of how to make them actionable to implement immediately, either in a classroom or at home.

I really enjoyed the discussions in this book on why these methods are good for the child’s development and learning. After reading this book, I have much better understanding of consistent, yet nurturing ways, to use discipline at various ages.

I would recommend this book for any teacher or parent who is interested in taking their knowledge of Montessori to a new level. Using this book as a guide will help your children become even more engaged in learning and enhance respect for the boundaries of the classroom or household.

Amazon Customer

This book is a must read. Too many parents, teachers and administrators have backed off of much needed guidance to prepare children to be positive members of society. I have observed Ms. Char's practices and have applied them in my own parenting and teaching. Children appreciate these corrections, as do parents. With the Montessori philosophy and Ms. Char's years of experience, Effective Discipline provides the reader with the confidence and tools to respectfully and effectively guide children towards growing into a good-natured human being.

Steph5280, Montessori teacher and director

Wow! This book needs to be in the hands of parents and teachers of small children. It represents clear thinking, supported by excellent documentation and Miss Charlotte’s own observations in her classroom. She is humble, inquisitive, and forward-thinking. Her observations helped parents individually, they became speeches, and now are being presented in a book to reach even greater audiences. It is easy to read and can also be conveniently used as a reference.


Importantly, Ms. Cushman illustrates how cognitive development of children has been overlooked and supplanted by other philosophical ideas, mainly those of John Dewey’s progressive education. Succinctly, Dewey felt children do not have a free will. Maria Montessori strongly disagreed.


The author goes on to describe successful proper discipline. The appendices are invaluable as ideas for parents and teachers alike.


I like this book because it expresses hope for parents and teachers. It provides solid evidence of the success of Maria Montessori’s principles including the materials she developed to implement those principles

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So, grab a copy and treat yourself!

Jacqueline Lehman

This book will help both parents and teachers. It will benefit everyone dealing with children, even if the children do not attend a Montessori school. I am a retired AMI Montessori teacher/administrator with many years of classroom experience. We often counseled parents regarding their methods of discipline at home. We always wished for a book to put in their hands, one that would help them understand our methods and that would offer helpful suggestions. I wish we had had this book!
The book is full of educational theory, contrasting various approaches and ideas. And for immediate help, there are three appendices, one on communication methods, one for parents on establishing consequences, and one for teachers. I think the last appendix would also benefit classroom teachers in traditional school settings, not just those in a Montessori classroom.

Anne Bussy, former founder and director of Chesapeake Montessori School in Annapolis, MD.