What does this term “Normalization” mean?
Normalization is a term that causes a great deal of confusion and some concern among many new Montessori Parents. Normalization is indeed not the best choice of words! It suggests that we are going to help children who are not normal to become “normal.” This is definitely not what Maria Montessori meant. Normalization is Montessori’s name for the process that takes place in Montessori classrooms around the world, through which young children learn to focus their intelligence, concentrate their energies for long periods, and take tremendous satisfaction from their work. In his book, Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, E.M. Standing described the following characteristics of normalization in the child between the age of three and six: • A love of order
• A love of work
• Profound spontaneous concentration
• Attachment to reality
• Love of silence and of working alone
• Sublimation of the possessive instinct
• Independence and initiative
• Spontaneous self-discipline
• The power to act from real choice and not just from idle curiosity
Kay Futrell in her classic little book, The Normalized Child, describes Dr. Montessori’s amazement when the 60 frightened and ill-disciplined inner-city children of her first Children’s House began to respond to the new environment. “What followed seemed incredible even to Dr. Montessori, for the deprived children blossomed under this freedom, and the possibility of doing work suited to their needs. They revealed to her not only their enormous capacity for intellectual accomplishment, but a strange character of sweetness and serenity. They displayed a truly uncorrupted spirit, scorning rewards and punishment, and finding their joy in the prodigious work which involved them. They came from these labours refreshed, as from a creative experience, and as they worked, they grew in inner discipline and peace. The...
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