Showing posts with label Normalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Normalization. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Repetition in the Montessori Environment

NAMC repetition in the montessori environment girl knobbed cylinders

“Repetition is the secret of perfection” – Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, p. 92

Remember the old adage, “practice makes perfect”? I am sure we can all agree on the importance of repetition in the Montessori environment. In fact, a recent search for “repetition” on the NAMC blog yielded the following results:

  • It is important to remember that the need for repetition is far more important than the need for mastery.
  • Repetition increases success.
  • Repetition of work will allow [the children] to practice, master, and retain the material.
  • Daily repetition will give much needed practice and reinforcement.
  • Some children are such careful observers while other children need more repetition and hands-on practice before they master a particular concept.
  • The student learns through repetition and memorization.
  • Through repetition of movement, improvement is made.
  • Through repetition, the Montessori child is able to differentiate between the slightest differences and variations in the world around him.

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, September 24, 2013.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is Executive Function? Montessori Perspectives

Montessori Perspectives on Executive Function - Part 2 of 3

young boy learns to sew montessori perspectives what is executive functionThere appears to be a lot of talk about ‘executive function’ in children these days. In fact, Adele Diamond and Kathleen Lee have said that the executive functions of a child are better predictors at school readiness and success than IQ (Diamond and Lee). So, what is executive function and more importantly, how does it relate to Montessori?

Executive functions refer to those qualities that make people successful: self-control, discipline, flexibility, and creativity. Individuals with high levels of executive function have increased periods of concentration and working memory and are able to solve complex problems by implementing reasoning and good planning skills while those with low levels of executive function are impulsive, lack persistence, and have poor attention spans.

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, May 17, 2012.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is Normalization? Montessori Perspectives

Montessori Perspectives on Normalization - Part 1 of 3

child playing with shapes mat NAMC montessori perspectives what is normalizationNormalization “is the most important single result of our whole work.”  ~Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, (Chapter 19)

I was looking at our local Montessori preschool’s website today and noticed that they advocate parent involvement in the classroom after the children have “normalized”. This got me thinking: parents who are familiar with the term ‘normalized’ would understand this, but new parents will not. It is a term that can cause confusion or unease if you are not sure what it means.

Normalization is the term Montessori used to refer to children who are able to concentrate and work freely in the Montessori environment, exercising self-discipline and peace. It is in no way meant to suggest that children who are not able to do this are not normal. It simply means they are in a different stage of their development and personal journey.

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 Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Using Montessori Materials: Helping Students Enjoy Work and Respect the Classroom

NAMC montessori materials helping students enjoy respect work classroom math charts
The first time I walked into a Montessori environment, I was speechless! I gazed around at the calm, organized environment and wondered in awe at the beautiful, child-size and developmentally appropriate materials. The combination of purchased and teacher-made works were displayed neatly and uncluttered on the shelves, as if there was all the space in the world and this one spot was made just to hold this beautiful work.

I quietly observed the children, ages 3-6, enter the Montessori classroom and it was as if the materials called to the children to take them off the shelves and get to work. There was no jostling about or loud voices. There was calm; there was purpose. There was intense concentration. There was work!

A few years later, I began my Montessori life teaching in the upper elementary Montessori environment. My “big kids” were accustomed to using the materials and if any untoward usage occurred, I was able to quickly refocus it with a glance.

Things changed when I entered the Montessori lower elementary environment. I found myself with several students who had never been in a Montessori environment before and they regarded the materials as toys rather than work. As my normalized Montessori students looked on aghast, I quickly realized it was time to start from the beginning and take time for lessons in how to properly use the materials.

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 Wednesday, July 6, 2011.

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Students Joining the Montessori Community Later in the School Year - Welcoming and Observing

Welcoming New Students Mid-year, Part 1
NAMC montessori community new students joining later in the year welcoming observingBack in January, I was discussing with my Montessori assistant how lovely it is to see all of the children working in a normalized manner and thriving on all of the activities on the shelves. The Vase of Kindness was being filled on a regular basis and the level of productivity in the class was incredible.

Recently two of our older children moved away and our Montessori preschool has welcomed two new children into our Montessori preschool program. Subsequently the dynamics of the group have changed, and an adjustment is underway.

Both incoming students are new to a Montessori environment. I observe that they will benefit from guidance to develop the social skills necessary to compromise and problem solve, and that both are a little on the aggressive side. The impact of this new dynamic on the tone of our class community requires some care and attention.

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 Friday, March 4, 2011.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tips for Encouraging Normalization in the Montessori Preschool Classroom

NAMC montessori classroom tips for encouraging normalization children together
This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist." ~ Maria Montessori

The Path to Normalization
What exactly is a normalized classroom? A normalized classroom refers to a Montessori environment where the children are working purposefully and cooperatively. Dr. Montessori described the normalized child as “...one who is precociously intelligent, who has learned to overcome himself and to live in peace, and who prefers a disciplined task to futile idleness.” (Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood).

The goal of any Montessori teacher is to recognize each child’s nature and allow it to grow. As the child chooses his own work and becomes absorbed in meaningful work, he soon begins working with continued concentration and inner satisfaction. When we see this in a single child, we call it inner discipline. When we see it in a whole classroom, we call it normalization. It is truly impressive to see a group of children work together in peace and harmony and it is what every Montessori teacher strives for!

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, February 8, 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Montessori Gluing Strategy - Helping Redirect Behavior and Focus

NAMC montessori gluing strategy redirecy focus behavior teacher child smiling This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

The Gluing Strategy
During Montessori work time there are often times when a student tries to interrupt a presentation or disrupt another student’s work. As a Montessori teacher, it is important to have a variety of different strategies up your sleeve to deal with such situations and to implement them in a subtle, non-intrusive manner. One of my favorite strategies is ‘gluing’ and it is particularly effective for Montessori students in their first phase of normalization, who struggle with staying focused on the task at hand. Essentially, gluing refers to keeping a child who is behaving in a disruptive manner close by your side before inviting him/her to choose a more suitable activity.

Today, my three-year-old student Jordan was having difficulty choosing his own work, and staying focused on his work seemed next to impossible. His mother mentioned to me that he went to bed very late the previous night and she worried that he may have some behavior challenges throughout the day -  boy, was she right. I was so grateful for that little bit of information from Jordan’s mom as it provided me with the necessary insight to effectively guide Jordan throughout the work period, while being sensitive to how he was feeling that day.

Jordan was clearly overtired and was interested in everyone else’s work but his own.

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 Wednesday, December 29, 2010.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nurturing Concentration in the Montessori Child: Observation, Respect, and Model Behavior

NAMC montessori education nurturing concentration in child respect observation modeling behavior using flag puzzle
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that one of the best gifts we can give children is an environment that enables them to develop their ability to concentrate. In fact, one of the aims of the Montessori Practical Life Activities is to develop strong concentration skills.

A child who is interested in the work she is doing will have an easier time concentrating. It is the job of the Montessori teacher and parent to arouse the interest of the child. As mentioned in Part 1 of this two-part series, a young child’s interest and attention level is at best, delicate; the world has so many distractions. As a result of these distractions, a young child may show seemingly little interest in one activity, and be incapable of remaining on one task for very long, choosing to move quickly from one activity to another.

To help such development, it is not enough to provide objects chosen at random, but we [teachers] have to organize a world of 'progressive interest' (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 206).

How, then, can we help to arouse and sustain the interest of the young child? Montessori realized that we cannot force interest or concentration onto the child. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the adult to look for the child to guide us. Here are some suggestions to consider:

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, August 13, 2009.

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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Parent's Guide to Choosing the Right Montessori School

NAMC montessori teacher and student choosing the right montessori school parent's guide Early registration and planning ahead is not unique to my Montessori school. It happens every year at every Montessori school around the world. Parents want the best education for their children and will do just about everything possible to obtain it for them.

You are fortunate if you live in an area that has several Montessori schools from which to choose. However, do not assume that all Montessori schools are created equal. The name “Montessori” refers to the method and philosophy of education adopted by the school. It is not a franchise or patented, and although most schools strive to remain true to the teachings of Dr. Montessori, there are variations of Montessori schools.

So, how do you know if you’ve found the right Montessori school for your child?

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 Wednesday, January 2, 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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