ï»¿Sterling Qualities of the â€˜Normalizedâ€™ Montessori Child
Iâ€™ve been in Montessori (as a teacher, parent, or both) for over ten years. Itâ€™s become so much a part of my DNA that I automatically approach almost every situation â€“ educational or not â€“ from a Montessori perspective. When I think, â€œThat child is normalizedâ€, or â€œHow can we work towards normalization?â€, I donâ€™t really think much about the word â€˜normalizedâ€™ and how it sounds to other people. But I realize using that term can create confusion.
What Does â€˜Normalizedâ€™ Mean in Montessori?
The dictionary defines â€˜normalizedâ€™ this way:Â To make normal, especially to cause to conform to a standard or ...view middle of the document...
M. Standing in his bookÂ Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work:Â love of order, love of work, love of silence and working alone, spontaneous concentration, obedience, independence and initiative, spontaneous self-discipline, attachment to reality, and joy.
As you can see, within that list is the freedom for a child to see be him or herself, with all the variances of personalities and abilities that we know exist in the human race. If these traits sounds somewhat familiar, itâ€™s because theyâ€™re very similar to theÂ characteristics of an authentic Montessori experience. Letâ€™s take a look at each:
Love of Order
From infancy onward, Montessori children discover that everything has its place. Our attention to providing a special place for favorite learning materials creates a sense of stability that honors childrenâ€™s natural love of order.
My children went to a neighborhood Easter-egg-hunt this past Saturday. Basically, a giant field is strewn with small chocolate eggs and all the kids run around seeing how many they can gather. After the hunt was over, the kids ate a few eggs and asked for more. â€œNo,â€ I said. â€œWeâ€™ll have some more tomorrow.â€
â€œOh,â€ said my daughter. â€œIf I canâ€™t eat anymore, I know what I can do with my eggs! I cansortÂ them!â€ And she sat down and began to sort them according to color. It was lovely to see the characteristic of â€˜orderâ€™ manifest itself in this way.
A Love of Work, Silence and Working Alone
Most people experience those pleasing times when you become so involved in something that interests you, time slips away unwatched. You donâ€™t want to be interrupted. Youâ€™re attending to your mindâ€™s call for a peaceful time of focus; in common psychological vernacular, youâ€™ve enteredÂ flow.
Montessori children are provided with interesting work to do, but along with the activity of doing the work, they are partaking of the activity ofÂ building-the-self. I cannot overstate the importance of giving the students plenty of time to work uninterrupted. You cannot enterÂ flowÂ when you feel like a bell, timer, or buzzer is going to ring any minute, or that someone else is going to impose a pre-determined â€˜scheduleâ€™ upon you.
Profound Spontaneous Concentration
Walking through a friendâ€™s beautiful garden, your attention is suddenly caught by a stunning flower. It isnâ€™t enough just to look at it. You must inspect how it grows, touch it with your hands, smell it with your nose. The rest of the pretty garden seems to fade into the background in that spontaneous moment of learning about the wonder of that blossom.
This is the experience Montessori instructors attempt to promote in students by engaging their focus on important, absorbing learning materials. If the materials have been skillfully presented, they will be worthy of the childâ€™s concentration and rapt fascination will happen naturally.
In the Montessori classroom, obedience is never blind or abusive....