Language and Phonics

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“The Montessori classroom uses the phonics approach to teach reading. Outline the graded phonics sequence and state the reading skills required at each stage. Suggest other activities that can be used to encourage children to read.” The natural purpose of language is the expression and communication of meaning in our daily living. It enables us to express our needs, share our experiences and learn from each other. Language is the medium of thought and of learning. Language is needed to communicate with one another, this is the social aspect of language, which unites human beings by a common bond. Language not only fuses men into groups and nations, but it is central point of difference between the human species and all others. According to Maria Montessori “Language is an instrument of collective thought”. She felt that language is truly the expression of a kind of super intelligence. Language develops naturally like a spontaneous creation. “The bond between the human beings is their common intelligence and language is the vehicle that makes the abstract intelligence of the community possible” – Language and the development of reading (course material), page 5 Dr. Maria Montessori developed two main concepts “Absorbent Mind” and “Sensitive Periods”, which are basic essentials of her philosophy. The first 6 years age span is divided into 2 three year periods. The first 3 years is called as unconscious learning and next three years is conscious learning. The emotional and intellectual qualities of the child develop through “sensitive Periods”. Each sensitive period motivate child to seek objects and relationships in their environment. According to Maria Montessori child’s mind is sharper than an adult. During sensitive period, children easily acquire abilities like language, discrimination of sensory stimuli, thought process of environment. Child has creative intelligence that exists in his conscious mental stage. Between ages 0-3 years, this unique early learning capacity is the most formative in the child. The mind soaks up information like sponge. Children develop their personalities through interaction with the environment. A child has a sensitive period which lasts until he is almost six year old. Sensitive period is the time when child focuses on one aspect of his environment and excludes all others. This time we can observe, child perform activities repeatedly with passion and conviction. They do the activity with concentration until their sensitivity is satisfied. Once a sensitivity is satisfied another sensitivity starts. The purpose of each sensitive period is to help them acquire a certain skill or characteristic for their growth. The sensitivity lasts for a certain period and does not occur. The sensitive periods include a sensitive period for learning language, refining the senses, learning to perfect movement and walking, a love of order in the environment and an attention to details and it is also important to remember that the young child does not need deliberate teaching, but they does need help in their development “The sensitivity to language begins early in the child’s life. The baby will begin to imitate the speaking sounds it hears. The baby hears many sounds like musical melodies, dog barking, etc. The fact that babies do not imitate these sounds shows that babies posses sensitivity towards the human language” – Montessori Principles and Philosophy (course manual) - pg 35 Montessori refers to the period of life between birth and three as the time when the intelligence and all the psychic facilities are being formed. Intelligence, according to her, is the ability to differentiate and to make judgments quickly and in an orderly manner. Man, unlike animals is not born with pre established behavior patterns, only with ability to form them. She spoke of the child mind as the absorbent mind because of its great ability to learn and assimilate effortlessly and unconsciously from the world around him, while...
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