Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Most Rewarding Montessori Student - Language Barriers

most rewarding NAMC Montessori student language barriers children looking at plants

From Collean —

I have had a very rewarding and memorable teaching career, but I can think of one little boy who stands out because of his exceptional progress over the three year continuum. When he came to school he wasn't quite 3 years old. He spoke only Arabic at home and his English was so limited that even simple communication was quite the challenge and very confusing and frustrating for him. I know that he felt isolated at first and was prone to rebel and act out his exasperation. However, just a few weeks into the program there was a huge shift.

Thoughts from other Montessori teachers on Language Barriers...

We did our best to give presentations and offer work that would build his vocabulary and help him connect with us, but just being immersed in the language every day, and having the opportunity to work independently in the prepared Montessori environment and experience success at his own accord worked wonders. He felt so accomplished and empowered at even the smallest daily victories over his language barrier that he became incredibly eager and worked hard to expand his vocabulary and communication skills. He was a true testament to the sensitive period for language and the amazing capabilities of the absorbent mind!

By the end of his second year, he could speak the language and had better grammar than many of our children for whom English was their first language. He loved to learn and improve, and he advanced further into the curriculum than the majority of the children I have worked with over the years. His parents were equally astounded as he made it his own personal responsibility to teach English to his younger sister so that she would be well prepared to start school. When he graduated kindergarten, my co-teachers and I could hardly believe that this was the same little boy who entered our class 3 years before and didn't have the words to tell us what he wanted. I think of him very fondly and am positive that his future will be bright.
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.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Saturday, August 11, 2012.


  1. Thank you for sharing. It is amazing how a child can overcome every barrier and succeed with the proper guidance, dedication and professionalism. Great job!


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