Define the term normalisation, linking it with the concept of deviations. (10)Outline the importance of the favourable environment in supporting normalisation.(20)Explain the maturational nature of normalisation linked to the child’s growing socialisation – link to the social embryonic stage of the absorbent mind.(10)Describe the teacher’s initial approach with new children.(10) Explain the change in the teacher’s role as each child begins to concentrate and focus on activities, and the impact this has on the child’s growing normalisation. (20)Show an understanding of why the child might regress. (5)
The purpose of this essay is to explore Montessori’s findings and conclusions with regard to normalisation. I will review the environmental factors that support favourable normalisation and its link to socialisation and identify the teacher’s role and approach with children. I will also review how the unfavourable environment may result in a child’s regression.
Montessori first used the term normalization (Montessori, 1966) to describe the observations that she saw in her classroom work with children in Italy in the 1960’s. The concept of normalization is recognised as a series of characteristics that define the point at which children concentrate with unbroken repetition and acquire self discipline for a task or activity that ultimately results in self-satisfaction. Montessori (1966) identified the child’s conversion to normalisation as a “psychic cure, a return to what is normal” (Montessori 1966, p148). At the same Montessori recognised that during the process of normalization certain characteristic traits disappeared. She recognised these traits as deviations that occur when the child “has not been able to actualise his “primitive plan” of development” (Montessori, 1966, p155). In other words these deviations may have been caused by an influencing adult or other external factor. These deviations were identified by Montessori as fugues and barriers (Montessori 1966, p154). A fugue is a running away and taking refuge by hiding away and taking refuge in fantasy in order to detract avoid the real world, whether it is from a situation or person. Children of this type are identified as never still, but their movements are uncoordinated and rather disjointed. They lack concentration, are bored easily and have a need to be entertained. In this context Montessori identified that if energy and movement develop separately “man is divided” (Montessori 1966, p155). A barrier is an inhibition which is strong enough to prevent the child from responding to their surroundings and they may appear disobedient or disinterested or withdrawn. When this occurs the child’s energy is misdirected and a “psychic barrier” is formed (Montessori 1966, p157). These deviations can result in behaviours that favour attachment, possessiveness, power, an inferiority complex, fear and lying. In order to educate to children reach Normalisation Montessori observed three participants in her methods of education – The child, the teacher and a “Favourable Environment” (Montessori, 2007a). The characteristics of the “Favourable Environment” enable the child to show their natural talent. Montessori saw this as allowing “the flowering of a child’s natural gifts” (Montessori, 1966, p136) and in order to do this the environment needs to be free of any barriers or obstacles that may affect or deter the child. For this to happen we must gather an understanding of the child and how they develop. The environment needs to be pleasant and clean, the tables and chairs should be child size and the children should have access to outdoor time – sun and light. The environment should be arranged in such a way that there are a range of activities for the child to do that relate to everyday life. The teacher should be calm without any anger or nerves and have an empathy and understanding of children. The environment should also be prepared...
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