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

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