Normalization in Montessori Classroom
Updated: Jun 13
The term Normalization in the Montessori classroom comes from anthropology. The term means “becoming a contributing member of society" (Dr. Rita Shaefer Zener, 2006).
Normalization describes the process that occurs in the Montessori classroom, when young children go from very short attention span when they feel the need to be constantly entertained. They are continually bouncing from one activity to the next to alleviate boredom, but nothing holds their interest for very long to a stage in which they learn how to focus and concentrate for sustained periods of time, as they find self-satisfying activities that captures their interest.
According to Dr. Montessori, young children may experience fuges or barriers that get in the way of them achieving normalization.
Fugues – A fugue is when a child "runs away" from a task. While they are never still, they lack purpose. They begin a work, leave it unfinished, and rush to another.
Barriers – A barrier is a deviation which is strong enough to keep a child from engaging in his learning environment. It may be disguised as disobedience or obstinacy. It manifests itself as dependence, power struggles, lying, prone to aggression and destructiveness. Some children tend to cry easily, are passive, manipulative, and easily bored. Rather than do something for themselves, they exert effort in trying to get others to do it for them. They are afraid of the world around them and cling to adults.
Dr. Montessori believed that if a child is placed in a carefully prepared environment, he/she would learn to live in harmony with his/her surroundings.
· To help children build confidence and independence by providing children with a prepared environment where children can explore, be free to develop his/her personality and mind from the opportunities that are presented in the classroom.
· To uphold the principle of Freedom Within Limits which means: the children are free to choose materials they want to work with for as long as they want, as long as they received a lesson on it. When children receive lessons, they learn the process on how to set up, how to use the material and how to clean up/put where it belongs.
· To protect children’s concentration. If a child is focused on an activity and it is disturbing others or using the materials inappropriately the teacher must not interrupt or intervene.
· To teach children how to respect others when they are trying to focus on their work.
· To observe and intervene immediately if a child is using materials inappropriately or any incidents which may pose a danger, is destructive or disrespectful.
Our Didactic Materials
One of the best attributes of Montessori Classrooms is that the materials provides children with hands on learning that promotes independence minimizing adult intervention. The materials contain built-in controls that tell students when they have mastered a skill, or when more learning is required. If a child makes a mistake, he/she will soon discover it through continued use of the materials (Mastery of skills lies in repetition).
As children begin to learn how to work independently, discovering and caring for their own needs to grow emotionally, academically they will become more self-reliant and self-confident.
Normalization in the classroom is a process. It may or may not happen overnight, each child develops at his/her own pace. It is my responsibility to guide, assist and support your child every step of the way.