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BIRTH TO THREE: Beginner’s Mind in Montessori Education


with Darla Miller, PhD
Level: 0 to 3
1 PD Hour




Maria Montessori was a decade ahead of contemporary researchers when she theorized that the first two years of life (not the university years) were the most critical to long-term human learning. Today scientists who study infant learning provide stunning confirmation that, indeed, the first years of life are the most significant for learning—not the least. The special sensitivity Montessori described in babies from birth to three—the unconscious absorbent mind—is surprisingly similar to a phenomenon we now call mindfulness.

In mindfulness, attention is isolated on immediate sensory experience, allowing for complete immersion in the present moment. Our adult brains are overwhelmed by an overload of information. We ruthlessly second-guess our past actions and endlessly fret about the future. We are worriers. We are supposed to be experts. But viewing the world as an expert can limit our openness to new possibilities, and how we fit into the larger context of an emergent universe. To increase creativity and reduce stress, Zen Buddhists recommend cultivating a beginner’s mind to see the world with fresh new eyes.

Babies come into the world with a beginner’s mind.  In the first years of life, the child’s mind is open, eager, and incredibly receptive. Children begin absorbing surroundings by looking, listening, touching, tasting, and smelling anything they can reach. This is the human being’s first tiny step toward eventually contemplating human existence as part of the emergent universe.



Lecture and Q&A with Darla Miller, PhD
Took place March 24, 7:00 PM EST
Level: 0 to 3
One CPD Hour

To watch Recording, click here.




In this presentation we discuss babies’ and toddlers’ sensory explorations of the environment in three major categories:

  • Creating Order out of Chaos by Finding Patterns
  • Exploring the Physical Properties of Matter
  • Discovering Cause and Effect


What you will get:

  • An understanding of how this first developmental plane fits into a Cosmic continuum across all levels.
  • An understanding of the very unique characteristics of this level.
  • A chance to ask questions, share, and hear the thoughts of others around the world.


Who is this for?

  • Teachers who want to create environments and activities that specifically nurture 0 to 3 children.  
  • Parents and Grandparents interested in nourishing their young ones during this crucial first phase of life.
  • School Admins who want to develop programs this age group.
  • Policy Makers who want to create programs and policies for 0 to 3 children.


BIO:  Darla Ferris Miller holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with focus on very young children, and both infant and toddler and early childhood level AMS-credentialed certifications. She has served as a global advocate for families, young children, and Montessori education in her roles as college vice president, professor, textbook author, Montessori teacher, Montessori school head, Montessori teacher educator, consultant, and nonprofit board member. She has served two terms as a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) Board of Directors.


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