What emerges is a powerfully gentle portrait of a willful and imperious child who grows into a willful and imperious adult, one whose central and profound contribution to society is the insight that teachers should heed the willfulness of small children—that children should be emperors of their own education ... De Stefano makes a consistent effort to withhold judgment, choosing instead to pay close and descriptive attention. She also avoids weighing in too much on the pedagogy, claiming that she is not an expert ... The result is a biography written the way a naturalist, or a Montessori protégé, might. Each chapter is short, often between two and four pages, and reads like something between a field note and a pensée ... gives the biography the at once complex and childlike feel of a diorama.
... intimate, comprehensive ... The book’s absorbing narrative shows independent, determined Montessori facing health challenges; the effects of war; longing for her distant child; lack of adequate funds; and harsh criticism of her methods ... Bolstered by rare access to Montessori’s unpublished diaries, personal letters, notes, and texts, The Child Is the Teacher is a deep, comprehensive biography that rewards both intellect and emotion.
... the first biography of Montessori written by a 'non-follower' with no connection to the movement or its founder, according to De Stefano ... De Stefano doesn’t portray a saint who is consistently and exclusively devoted to serving the underserved ... Yet to her death, Montessori never abandoned her faith in the idea that all children, rich and poor, should be more valued, supported and empowered. And whether we embrace her educational methods or not, in that sense we should all be more Montessorian.