There is a lot of new terminology you’ll learn when you begin your journey with the Montessori theory, although it can be quite a bit to digest at first. For instance, when you hear the word “normalization” in the same sentence as your child, you may be thinking “my child is already normal…” However, in Montessori, “normalization” refers to the child’s own choice for independence, focus, and concentration.
“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Normalization is a process that your child will go through when they transition into a Montessori environment. The right Montessori environment should offer hands-on, engaging materials and be able to minimize the disruption of your child’s concentration.
In a Normalized Classroom, what Role does the Teacher Play?
The main difference between a teacher in a traditional classroom and a teacher in a Montessori-based classroom is that the focus is on the child’s learning and exploring versus being on the teacher teaching. As opposed to your child’s teacher answering their questions directly, they could return your child’s questions by asking them how they would solve the problem. This has shown to encourage children to learn by engaging their critical thinking skills.
The teacher observes your child and maintains an orderly environment, promoting peace, and keeping distractions at bay so your child is able to reach their full learning potential. Dr. Montessori believed in minimizing adult intervention throughout a child’s journey of learning. She focused on the idea that a child would soon learn their mistake, should they make one, through further use of the materials. Instead of teaching correcting, Montessori teachers focus on encouraging your child’s independent learning.
If you want to begin implementing different Montessori ideas into your home, it can seem like an overwhelming task. Don’t stress just yet – start small, beginning with one idea like following the child first. Once you’ve become accustomed, you can begin introducing normalization!