Language art rationale concerning Montessori principles

Language art rationale concerning Montessori principles

Language is a system of words, gestures, and symbols with a universal agreed meaning that is used and shared within a group of individual. Communication, among other significant advantages, is the most important benefit we derive from a language. Additionally, language plays a crucial role in human life and therefore, can provide a vital insight on a Child’s development. Maria Montessori clearly understood this concept and developed the Montessori Method of Education that is a child-centered educational approach based on the scientific observation of children behaviour.

The Montessori Method: Auto-Education

Auto-education is the process of educating oneself. A prepared classroom which is a crucial point in Montessori methods is a central feature of a child’s self-education. Montessori believed that the materials and furnishings with which a class is outfitted should be designed in a way that creates a nurturing environment that encourages learning. The learning materials in the school should be self-explanatory and able to teach a practical and problem-solving skill.

Additionally, the materials provided in the classroom should have an in-built control error that should be evident to the kid while exploring the contents. For examples

The Montessori Method: Sensitive period

A sensitive period refers to developmental windows of opportunity during which a child can learn specific concepts more easily and naturally than any other time in their lives. During a child’s sensitive period they develop quickly develop strong interest towards certain activities. Once these activities have been acquired, the strong desire disappears. Some of these sensitive periods include; Writing (three-four years), Writing (three-four years), Reading (three-five years), Mathematics (four-six years), interest in small objects, order, vocabulary, emotional control, sensation, and letter shapes and sounds.  To address this sensitive period requires a critical role of both parents and teachers to be more observant to enable them to detect changes and abrupt child interests and supply the settings need for the child’s fulfillment. The concepts of sensitive periods are illustrated by examples such as language development, infant-parent attachment relationship and repeated performance of a song action for no apparent reason.

The Montessori Method: Absorbent Mind

Absorbent mind refers to a child’s capacity of acquiring knowledge unconsciously from his surrounding environment. There are two stages of absorbent mind known as the unconscious absorbent mind and conscious absorbent mind. The unconscious absorbent mind is experienced from a child’s birth until the third year while the conscious absorbent mind is developed as from the third year up to the sixth year. Montessori believed that learning is a natural part of a child’s development. To address this period, Montessori suggests that teachers and parents should encourage natural inclination by providing stimulating environments and experiences. The concepts of sensitive periods are illustrated by example such as a child responding to sounds of music by either bubbling their legs or stretching their hands.

The Montessori Method: Spontaneous Repetition

Spontaneous repetition refers to any random form of exercise that provides the child with an opportunity to practice skill or knowledge area. Repetition does not mean the child should engage in the same activity over and over again. It instead, anything that provides the child with an opportunity to practice of a previously learned skill such as gaming, watching, and extensions are considered repetition in the language of art material. For example, repetition can come in the form of a child observing other children doing a particular work and later gives lessons mostly to their younger ones.

The Montessori Method: Development of a Will

Development of the will is the child’s ability to choose to do things with conscious intent and make good decisions. Montessori supports the development of the will by creating an environment that offers many opportunities for the child to choose from. Self-control or willpower is developed from many little life choices children make daily. For example, involving children in constructive home chores such as keeping a room tidy, caring for a pet or gardening allows children to develop willpower and self-discipline.

The Montessori Method: Exercise of the Will

When Montessori talked about the exercise of the will, she was describing the child’s ability to gain independence and adapt to the social norms. Montessori supports the practice of the will by creating an environment where children are allowed to do activities of daily life that can help them adapt and orientate themselves in society.

The Montessori Method: Normalization

According to Montessori, Normalization refers to the independence, focus, and concentration of children by their own will. The language of art material facilitates the process of normalization by creating conducive learning through minimized work disruption, three-hour work cycles, and offering engaging hands-on elements. For example, children working with practical life materials such as molding soil fully engage their interest and appear to be refreshed and contended.

The Montessori Method: Control of Error

Control error is an automatic process of improving a child’s independence through techniques designed to detect, control, and correct errors created by children to complete work successfully.  For example, the designs of furniture materials are made light enough to be quickly moved by children without the help of an adult.

The Montessori Method: Observation

Observation is the primary role of a teacher in a class, and it entails much more than sitting and watching but also getting involved in a child’s activities around the learning environment. Observation is essential has it helps the teacher in obtaining information about each child individual needs and learning style and guides her along with their best learning path. Furthermore, during observation, the teacher looks for particular areas of interest in a child’s work so that she can cultivate them as well as determine area of strength and weakness in a child’s work to decide how to nurture the child’s spirit.

The Montessori Method: Prepared Environment

Realizing the absorbent nature of a child’s mind, it is essential to create a unique environment that encourages maximum learning and exploration. The primary goal of a prepared environment is to instill independence in the child. The six principles of a prepared environment are beauty, nature and reality, freedom, social environment, structure and order, and intellectual environment. An example of a prepared environment is the availability of a movable alphabet that helps a child in composing a word.

Major Strands in Language Art and Literacy Material

Montessori believes that language is the central point that differentiates humans from all other creatures. It gives human an opportunity to express themselves both orally and through written words. In language art and literacy materials, there are four significant strands: Meaning-Focused Input it involves learning through listening and reading, Meaning-focused Output-learning through speaking and writing, Fluency Development, this strand aims and improving fluency through listening, writing, reading and speaking. Finally, Language-Focused Learning, it involves deliberate improvement of language through activities such as spaced repetition systems and flashcards and pronunciation and grammar drills.

Montessori Curriculum Areas

Based on Montessori’s scientific observation of child behavior towards learning, she came up with three major curriculum area namely, Practical life area, sensorial, and language and mathematics curriculum.  Practical life helps a child to gain independence and adapt to the social norms. Exercises such as preparation of food which is part of the language and art material build’s children’s coordination, independence and concentration.  Sensorial and mathematics curriculum promotes the development of a child’s five senses. Language and art materials such as the pink cubes used for building pink tours helps in introducing math learning concepts such as decimal numerals.

Direct and indirect aims of Montessori language and art materials

The prepared materials available in Montessori classroom are aimed directly to develop coordination, independence, control movement, concentration, and strengthening of dominant hand or foot. Each element has a concept of empowering the child and allows for constant practice until he gets a sense of satisfaction.  Practical life activities in the Montessori classroom indirectly prepares a child to be able to do things independently.

Meaning of language art materials

Language and art materials are types of equipment or activities used for enhancing a child’s development in language, coordination, independence, and concentration.

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