“Normalization” a special term in Montessori education whose meaning is quite different from what might come to mind when you hear it. The word “normal” is used in context with something “usual”, “ordinary” or “typical”. “Normalization” is the term Maria Montessori used to describe a distinct process in child development that she observed.
She observed that children blossom when they are allowed to work independently in an environment that suits them best. When they work with things that fully capture their interest and attention, they go through a period of intense concentration which ends in leaving the child refreshed and contented. This continued concentration in the work of their interest fosters self-discipline and peace in children. This process is what Montessori School refers to as “Normalization”.
The interesting piece of work which the child chose out of will drives away fatigue since the child’s energy is focused on a constructive job they love to do. Some important characteristics found in the normalized child are a love of order, spontaneous concentration, sublimation of the possessive instinct, spontaneous self-discipline, love of silence, love of working alone, attachment to reality, independence, obedience and joy. There are three stages of normalization.
The first stage of normalization is for children who fall under the age group of 3 years or less. These children are not yet prepared for the level of freedom and responsibility granted to the elder ones. They are kept under constant supervision of a Montessori teacher and are given a limited number of options to choose from. Children are given activities to develop motor skills and increase concentration at this stage.
At the second stage of normalization, the child is prepared for some more freedom. He can make transitions from one activity to another as he is not intensely engaged with the materials. This demonstrates that he has not yet achieved true self-discipline. The teacher observes children to determine which works they are most interested in.
After a child has received Montessori education for several years, they reach the third stage of normalization. This stage typically consists of children of five to six years of age. At this stage, a child is able to focus on one thing for long. He develops deep interest and is content in her surroundings. He does not require much supervision and the teacher is able to observe her better and guide her towards independence and normalization.
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