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Normalization in the Montessori Environment

There are a lot of terms used in Montessori theory that are not used in other preschool educational theories. It's a whole new language that can take time to digest. Eventually the theories connect, everything meshes together and a new vision of the child can be seen.

Normalization in the Montessori Environment

Normalization refers to the focus, concentration, and independence of the children, by their own choice.  It means they have acquired the internal freedom to initiate work, be independent, and adhere (by choice) to the rules of the environment.

A well prepared Montessori environment facilitates the process of normalization by offering engaging, hands-on materials, three hour work cycles, and minimizing the disruption of concentration.

Normalization is a Process

The process of normalization is a journey. It begins when the children first enter the primary classroom and are introduced to the practical life materials. These materials help the child to develop their motor skills, acquire a sense of order, and begin the process of extending their ability, and desire for concentrated work.

As the children work their way through the 3 year primary program, they are introduced to work that requires a greater order, refinement of movement, and lengthy concentration.

Maria Montessori felt that a child's troublesome behaviors disappeared when they experienced concentration on meaningful activities. This is why the youngest children are started off with the Practical Life activities.
"All we have to do is set [the child's developmental] energy free. It is as simple as that. This is not giving freedom to children in the common sense. What is the use of freedom to children, if it is freedom to develop their deviations? When we speak of freedom in education we mean freedom for the creative energy which is the urge of life towards the development of the individual. This in not casual energy like the energy of a bomb that explodes. It has a guiding principle, a very fine, but unconscious directive, the aim of which is to develop a normal person. When we speak of free children we are thinking of this energy which must be free in order to construct these children well." Maria Montessori (1989, p.12)
It will take time and much effort on the part of the Directress (teacher) to ensure a suitable environment is prepared for the children. It is only through the prepared environment that the children will flourish and the process of normalization will begin.

Normalized Children are Joyful

In a normalized classroom you will see the following in the children:
  • love of work
  • concentration
  • self-discipline
  • joy

For further insight in to this topic, please read visit this article.