Turning Education Inside-Out

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Confessions of a Montessori Principal
By Judy Dempsey
Softcover, 6×9, 295 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60427-131-7
December 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60427-131-7 Categories: ,


This book shares the experiences and insight of a Montessori educator over the course of her 40 years as a Montessori teacher, administrator, school owner, and Montessori teacher trainer. It addresses the need for parents and educators to better understand the Montessori philosophy and to embrace it as a means to solve the problems inherent in the traditional structure of education in the United States.

Despite the fact that Dr. Maria Montessori created this method over 100 years ago, most of her discoveries about how children learn and the effect of their environment on their developing brains have only recently been validated by current technology and specialists in brain development. These recent discoveries and the real-world success of numerous high-profile Montessori-educated entrepreneurs have helped the popularity of this educational philosophy.

Turning Education Inside-Out: Confessions of a Montessori Principal shows the impact that the Montessori experience has on the developing child, clears up misconceptions about exactly what Montessori is, and helps prospective parents determine if Montessori is right for their child. Montessori educators will also find the author’s insights into the challenges of successfully implementing the Montessori philosophy into the classroom and school to be helpful in their own journey.

Key Features

  • Offers valuable insight into Montessori from multiple perspectives: teacher, administrator, school owner, and teacher trainer
  • Thoroughly explains the Montessori educational methodology, providing parents and others not trained in the philosophy with a better understanding of child development and the importance of the child’s environment during crucial developmental stages
  • Reviews current theories on brain development and current trends in education, including the education of boys and testing, grades, and report cards
  • Examines key issues affecting Montessori teachers and administrators, and provides a platform for them to express their viewpoints on the successful implementation of the Montessori philosophy
  • WAV offers a checklist to help parents looking for a Montessori school, articles on Montessori, and special material for Montessori educators—available from the Web Added Value Download Resource Center at www.jrosspub.com

About the author(s)

Judy Dempsey is the owner and principal of Summit-Questa Montessori School in Davie, Florida—a Montessori school on 10 acres for students from the age of three through the 8th grade. She is also the co-director of the Summit Montessori Teacher Training Institute which offers training in infant/toddler, early childhood, and elementary 1 levels. This institute is Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) accredited and also an affiliate of the American Montessori Society (AMS) teacher education program. In addition, Judy was trained as an AMS consultant in 1990 and in 2003 as a MACTE Teacher Training Evaluation Committee member.

Judy has held the officer’s position of First Vice President and Director of Accreditation from 2010 to 2016 with the Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF), a state of Florida Private School Accreditation organization, where she has been a board member since 2006. She held the office of secretary for AISF from 2008 through 2010. Presently, she is a board member of the Montessori Florida Coalition, an organization that puts on an annual Montessori Conference in Miami, Florida. Judy also sat on the Board of Trustees for the Montessori Development Association from 1993 until 1995. She has been trained to serve on school evaluation teams for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools-Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).

In 2009, Judy was awarded The Alan O’Such Memorial Outstanding Service Award by the AISF for outstanding service to the organization and the children of the state of Florida. She was just named the Recipient of the 2016-2017 “Distinguished Educator of the Year Award”—the highest honor given by the Association of Independent Schools of South Florida.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Montessori 101

Chapter 2: Why Montessori?

Chapter 3: What Makes Montessori Work?

Chapter 4: Montessori versus Traditional Education

Chapter 5: How to Recognize an Authentic Montessori School

Chapter 6: The Importance of the Parent’s Role in the Montessori Experience

Chapter 7: Montessori Educators



Chapter 8: Infant and Toddler

Chapter 9: Early Childhood

Chapter 10: Elementary

Chapter 11: Adolescence



Chapter 12: Spirituality in Montessori Education

Chapter 13: Peace Education



Chapter 14: A Global Approach for the 21st Century

Chapter 15: The Education of Boys

Chapter 16: Testing, Grades, and Report Cards

Chapter 17: Special Needs Students

Chapter 18: Technology

Chapter 19: Emotional Intelligence

Chapter 20: Photo Gallery



Montessori Students, Alumni, Alumnae, Parents, Montessori Educators, Specialists




“This is a must-read for all parents considering a Montessori education for their child. Dempsey also offers Montessori administrators and teachers a joyful sharing about her significant Montessori career.”

Richard Ungerer, Executive Director, American Montessori Society

“The more I study neuroscience, the more I am convinced that Maria Montessori was, in fact, a century ahead of her time. The Montessori environment is perfect for growing children into problem solvers, good citizens, and leaders.”

Michael Rizzo, Ph.D., Diplomate in School Neuropsychology

“Dempsey’s book touches the hearts and minds of teachers, administrators, and parents alike. As an educator for 45 years, I was spellbound as the words leaped off the pages and touched my heart. I will keep extra copies on my shelf to pass on to parents and educators as they pass through my door.”

Charaline Luna, Ed.D., President, Association of Independent Schools of Florida

“Dempsey has captured the true essence of the Montessori philosophy so beautifully with her many years of stories and experiences with children and adolescents in a Montessori school. The reader gets a clear understanding of the philosophy as well as feels the love and passion Judy has for her work as she shares her own journey as a Montessori teacher, educator, and administrator. I am very grateful that she has written this book for all of us to be inspired.”

Dr. Elisabeth Coe, Executive Director, Houston Montessori Center

“Dempsey intrigues the reader with her understanding of Montessori philosophy and curriculum. The vignettes of her Montessori students, though, as she traces them from preschool to career, are stunning and inspiring.

Dr. Pamela Zell Rigg, Program Director, Montessori Teacher Education Center, San Francisco Bay Area

“We are fortunate that Judy opens her heart and shares her wisdom and experiences. Enjoy this book’s information and inspiration!”

Beverley McGhee, Founder of Alexander Montessori School and the Montessori Teacher Training Institute