Monday, September 27, 2010


Things have been going unbelievably well in school.  I see many new children who have already achieved "normalization".  These days, using a word like "normalization" seems like an invitation for an upset parent.  People immediately say "How can you say a child is not normal?  How dare you say that!"  Maria Montessori used the term normalization to describe a child who
  • is capable of long periods of concentration
  • loves to work
  • can socialize peacefully
  • utilizes self-discipline and perseverance
Ok, so now parents ask, "When will MY child be normalized??".  That's a great question.  Oftentimes, it can take only 6 weeks for a child in a well-run Montessori classroom to become normalized.  On the other hand, I have seen the rare child with a loud voice, short attention span, and no desire to work continue in the classroom for 2 years and then finally become normalized in that kindergarten year.  It truly varies from child to child. 

The North American Montessori Center states that the process of normalization occurs in 3 steps:
  • Preparation for Work-  This includes gathering the materials necessary to do the work. The preparation allows the mind to begin to focus on the activity before the work actually begins.
  • The work – The works in a Montessori classroom are meant to engage the child so that she is able to focus and concentrate in depth.
  • Rest (or completion) – The work is done and the child has derived satisfaction of completing the work. This is a time of putting the Montessori materials away and sharing his accomplishments with others.
So when you hear your child's teacher mention the term "normalization", try not to think in terms of political correctedness.  Instead, keep Montessori's original words in mind:

"Normalization is the single most important result of our work."  ~Maria Montessori

Monday, September 13, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Today was our first full day class.  I'm exhausted, and from the looks on the other teachers' faces, they are too.  However, I'm thrilled with the work that was done today, and the level of maturity we've attained already from such a young group is astounding. 

This week we're discussing Parts of our Body, specifically the hands, feet, head, teeth and skin.  Today we discussed our hands and the many things we do with our hands.  The children listed so many things they had used their hands for just this morning..."to eat breakfast, to brush my teeth, to do my work, to touch the geometric solids" and the list goes on.  Tomorrow we dive into the world of the feet!  We'll do the song "Open, Shut Them" with our feet and we'll also match and roll socks! 

You know you've had a good day when a very young three year old girl walks up to you and says, "Will you please show me another work?  I just can't get enough."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Days

We're enjoying our first week of school in our larger location.  I must say, in over ten years of Montessori teaching, I've never had a more peaceful, cooperative group.  The children seem so thankful for the lessons they receive and so proud of each and every tiny accomplishment.  I gave a small group lesson on cylinder block #1 to a group of young 3's.  At the end of the lesson, they all looked up at me with smiles and clapped.  They applauded the beauty of the lesson.  Needless to say, that cylinder block was out and used often the entire day.

I'm watching new friendships blossom.  Frienships that will grow and change and mature over the next three years.  I'm also watching new staff members learn more about Montessori and fall in love with the Method.  They have a look of awe on their faces as they watch these young people function independently in their small community.  I've said it many times over the course of the week and I'll say it again...this is going to be a great year!