“Language Lies at the Root of That Transformation of the Environment That We Call Civilization.” How Is Language Encouraged in the Montessori Environment?

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Language is a mean of communication, delivering ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized sounds and signs, thus, being the spoken and written language. It is part of the human tendencies to want to communicate with others and this could underlie the emergence of language. Montessori said, “To talk is the nature of man.” Humans needed language in order to communicate, and soon, the powers that come with language revealed. The evolution of the human language began when communication was done through pictograms and drawings. It then developed into ideograms when pictures began to turn into symbols. Later, these symbols became words, words involved letters, vowels emerged, one symbol came to represent one sound, and an alphabet was created, and then came the alphabet we now use today. And just as language evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago, it also changes with each generation. Unneeded words are dropped and new words come into use. Language rose and continues to rise with the collective intelligence. This also marked the civilisation of mankind. Language differentiates a community from one another but at the time it also unites and binds human being of different races together through a common language. Content

Language is the ability to understand speech and a desire to convey one’s feelings and thoughts. It is through communication that human beings are able to cooperate with each other to solve common problems. It is through communication based on written and oral language in particular that each generation has passed on its accumulating wisdom to the next. “Language, we may say, grow with human thought”. (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p109) The learning of language is truly the child’s most remarkable intellectual achievement and is amazingly accomplished rapidly in a very short time span. “By merely living and without any conscious effort the individual absorbs from the environment even a complex cultural like language” (Elizabeth G. Hainstock, The Essential Montessori, pg. 81) Based on Montessori’s observation, the various periods of the child’s life show the same stages in the level reached and this applied to all the children throughout the world, this applied to the acquisition of language in the child. She found out that the child is first interested with human's voice, follow by repeating the same syllable, then words are spoken of more than one syllable, then the whole syntax and grammar seem to be grasped, gender and number, case, tense and mood. The child begins this work in the darkness of the subconscious mind, and here it develops and fixes itself permanently. Though it seems as a mystery, the child takes a lot of practices to connect the physical and psychic abilities. Maria Montessori observed that the sensitive period of language is the longest one which is from birth to age 6: 1. Birth - age 1: the child is sensitive to sounds; listening and watching and then started with single syllable, imitating sound and pointing to objects in the attempt to communicate. If the child is taught sign language, he may be able to use signs to communicate at the tender age of 10 months, way before he develops speech. 2. Age 1 - age 2: the child is sensitive to words; begins using simple words. He responds to simple then complex commands. Understand about 200 words. 3. Age 2 - 3 and up: the child's vocabulary increases tremendously (from approximately 300 to 1000 words). 4. Age 4- this is the sensitive time for writing.

5. Age 4 and a half to 5 - the child starts to classify words and reading. 6. Age 5 to 6 - sensitive to the study of parts of speech and word usage. At the beginning of the child’s sensitive period to language, he explores his surroundings with his tongue and hands, and through these, the child absorbs the qualities of objects in his environment and seeks to act upon it. He wants to know the name of every object that he sees and touches and mimic words said by the adults around...
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