Sunday, April 27, 2008

Montessori Philosophy: The Three Stages of Normalization in the First Plane of Development

NAMC montessori philosophy three stages of normalization first plane of development girl with dressing frame
Normalization is the foundation upon which "spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others.…" (The Absorbent Mind) arise. It is a time where children learn to focus and concentrate their energies for long periods of time, while taking personal satisfaction in their work. Normalization occurs during the first plane of development (ages 0-6). The child who is normalized displays:
  • love of order
  • love of work
  • spontaneous concentration
  • attachment to reality
  • love of silence and of working alone
  • sublimation of the possessive instinct
  • power to act from real choice
  • obedience, independence and initiative
  • spontaneous self-discipline
  • joy

There are three stages of normalization and the typical Montessori classroom contains children from all three stages.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Sunday, April 27, 2008.

Gluing and Redirecting Behavior in the Montessori Classroom

Gluing Redirecting Behavior NAMC Montessori Classroom Working Towards Normalization teacher and girl
The one thing that frustrated me the most when I was in college was the feeling that this “theory” and “philosophy” is all well and good, but how do I apply it? How do I make it work?

I felt the same way when became a Montessori lead teacher in my first Montessori classroom. I understood the philosophy behind normalization and deviations, but how would I put it to practical use when the time came to approach a child who was misbehaving. What would I do? What would I say? I cannot stress enough the importance of observing veteran Montessori teachers. Even today, I am in awe of those gracious and courteous mentors. In their Montessori classrooms I could experience a place where every child was actively engaged and working and not a soul spoke above a hushed whisper. There was a sense of peace and harmony and I felt that I could dwell there forever. These are the Montessori teachers I sought out to be my mentors. These were my role models and I frequently found myself asking them for practical advice when it came to redirecting student behavior.

Redirecting student behavior in a Montessori classroom relates to how a Montessori teacher interacts with a child when she is misbehaving. Because of the importance placed on the well-prepared environment and well-prepared teachers, there should be relatively little misbehavior when the teacher is experienced and the children are normalized.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on .

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why Aren't My Students Normalized? Deviations in the Normalization Process

NAMC montessori classroom why aren't students normalized deviations sad boyIf you're a Montessori teacher like me, you've probably caught yourself at times wondering "Why aren't these children normalized yet?" After all, I'm doing everything I've been taught to do. I speak in a quiet and respectful voice, my Montessori classroom is beautiful and the environment is well-prepared. I present my lessons using a 3-period model and I've spent much time working on and creating beautiful materials. So why won't Julia share the red shovel? Why does Jason still cry when mommy leaves? Why does Sofia continue to run and skip around the classroom instead of using walking feet?

Dr. Montessori referred to these misbehaviors as "deviations", or detours from normalization. The deviations are created when development is not allowed to proceed in a normal way. If the misbehavior is not corrected, it will only become worse as time progresses.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Saturday, April 26, 2008.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Montessori Philosophy: Understanding Normalization and the Montessori Classroom

NAMC montessori normalization classroom boy with flag puzzle
Normalization is the single most important result of our work. (The Absorbent Mind - Maria Montessori)

Upon hearing the term "normalization" for the first time, most people cringe. "What do you mean my child isn't normal?" The term normalization is a term borrowed from anthropology and means "becoming a contributing member of society" (Dr. Rita Shaefer Zener, 2006). Normalization describes the process that occurs in the Montessori classroom, where young children (usually with short attention spans) learn to focus and concentrate for sustained periods of time, while deriving self-satisfaction from their work. Normalization occurs when development is proceeding normally.

Dr. Montessori stated that there are four characteristics that show that normalization is happening:

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, April 21, 2008.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Autism and Special Needs Children in the Montessori Classroom

autism special needs NAMC montessori classroom sucess boy pink tower
April is Autism Awareness Month, and Autism is on the rise at an alarming rate in the United States. It is estimated that there are approximately 259,425 children (ages 3-22) who have been diagnosed with autism. (http://www.fightingautism.org/)

Autism is a developmental disability that is typically diagnosed during the first three years of life. It is the result of a neurological disorder that impairs the functioning of the brain which impacts development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children with autism have difficulty relating to and communicating with others and they have difficulty understanding the body language and emotional expression of others.

While the causes of autism are still not known, research indicates there may be genetic factors as well as factors based on conditions affecting brain development before, during, and shortly after birth. There are still on-going discussions as to whether autism can develop later and whether allergies or dietary intolerances play a role in its development. The Montessori classroom is an environment which can help children with autism and other special needs explore and learn experience success in education.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Sunday, April 20, 2008.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Montessori Classroom Practical Life Activities: The Montessori Dressing Frame

NAMC Montessori Classroom Practical Life Activities girl working with Montessori Dressing Frame
Last weekend, while shopping at a large chain bookstore, I came across several books on the bargain rack that were designed to help children gain independence by practicing the skills necessary for learning to dress themselves. Excited, I opened the books, only to be disappointed. Sure, they were colorful, slick, board books with popular TV cartoon personalities as the star of the 'show'. However, the practical exercises for the children were lacking. Not all clothing fasteners were presented in each book. One even had a permanently tied shoe that the children could touch, but not try for themselves. I found myself thinking of the completeness and beauty of the Montessori Dressing Frames.

One of the practical life activities that really stands out in a primary Montessori classroom is the rack of dressing frames. The purpose of the dressing frames is to build concentration, coordination and control of movement, all the while encouraging children to become more independent as they learn to care for themselves.

There are several types of dressing frames:

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, April 17, 2008.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Orderly Line Ups in Your Montessori Classroom: Ideas for Engaging Students

NAMC montessori classroom orderly line ups engaging students
Whether we like it or not, everyone likes to be first in line. There's a certain social status attached to being the line leader, especially for younger children. It seems as if children line up several times a day: going out to the playground, and back, going to music, and back, going to lunch, and back, and going out to dismissal.

To make this a more enjoyable (and educational) experience for children, here are some creative ways to have children line up.


As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.

Earth Day Information and Activities to Celebrate in the Montessori Classroom

earth day information activities NAMC montessori classroom our earth
Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planned for next spring…when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned…." (New York Times, Nov. 30, 1969)

Montessorians are well versed when it comes to protecting the Earth and its environment. Dr. Montessori believed that "The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth." She also stated that "There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest." Studying environmental protection has a lasting impact on young children. In the Montessori curriculum, the study of the 5 Great Lessons awakens the child's sense of awe and wonder. We show the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. When we talk about being stewards to the planet, we instill a sense of global awareness and foster Dr. Montessori's belief that "We are all a single organism, one nation." In honor of our Montessori educational goals and Earth Day, we've gathered some great information and activity ideas for you to use in your Montessori classroom.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on .

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ideas for Going Out in the Montessori Classroom: Age Appropriate Locations

going out NAMC montessori education activity ideas all ages farm animals
I've been writing about the benefits of "going out" in the Montessori curriculum, but if you're a first time teacher you may be looking for some ideas on where to go. The best field trips are activity based or outdoor activities where children have the hands-on opportunity to learn about and explore nature and their community.

Here are a few suggestions on where you can take your Montessori classroom for amazing educational experiences:

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, April 3, 2008.
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As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.

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