Language in the Montessori class is an extension and a component of all other work. It is through the mother tongue that the child constructs his own speech. Language can be seen as a bridge to culture. When written language is mastered, the written language is extended. “We must bring the world to the young child”. By saying this, Maria Montessori asks the directress to prepare the environment so the child can explore what man has discovered and has created for it. Through these explorations, the child constructs himself. This occurs in a social and cultural context, both at home and at school. By living with his home people, participating in the daily life, and by exploring the culture of his people, the child makes a complete adaptation to his culture by the age of six.
In the classroom, the materials and activities are grouped into the four basic areas of Practical Life, Sensorial Work, Language, and Mathematics. In all of these, language is used as a bridge to the understanding of every experience. It is also used to crystallize the experience in the child’s mind.
Language is used as guidance and instruction. Names given for activities along with their functions and purposes helps the child build his general and specialized vocabulary. With this growing vocabulary, the child is able to express himself more easily and more fully with others.
Experiences in the arts, in dance, and in music are also given to the child along with the sciences of life, physical science, history and geography. All of these additional Exercises are introduces, informed, and crystallized with language. In addition to the activity itself, most of these Exercises are language lessons.
Every cultural path has a sensorial base for the child. There are materials in the Sensorial area from which the child builds a base for these other activities. From this base, the child will be offered specific activities in each of the paths of culture. Thus allows the child to become a participating and contributing member of his society. The four basic groups of work allow the child to sufficiently construct himself in his culture. The Cultural Work is given so the child has the keys to function in his culture.
There are fewer materials for the arts and sciences. There are some basic presentations that will always be included in the 3-6 classroom. These areas are open ended and other possibilities beyond the basic Exercises can be offered from time to time. As with other language activities, much of the work will come from the teacher. It is important to observe the children and observe what is of interest to the them. It is important to keep a variety of work in these other paths of culture but without overdeveloping the areas to the point where they overwhelm the child.
By carefully choosing what we offer in the arts and sciences, we can greatly enrich the child’s cultural adaptation.
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