Normalization in a Montessori Classroom
The key to a successful Montessori classroom is Normalization and a Prepared Environment. Normalization is not the process of conforming a child to be "normal" but the process of helping every child become a contributing member of our classroom community, by learning the classroom rules, routines and how to respect our classroom and peers. It is during this normalization process that we strive to help the children develop order, concentration, coordination and independence. This is not possible without a carefully prepared environment, which meets the needs of every child.
Normalization takes a different amount of time for every child. The first 6 weeks in our classroom will be the most important part of this process. Right now we are dedicating ourselves to making sure we do everything they need to a achieve this process.
We have carefully prepared the classroom to meet the needs of every child and to ensure that they are motivated to work. Within our classroom right now, we are giving many Grace and Courtesy lessons and are consistently reinforcing the classroom rules. We are teaching our new students classroom etiquette, such as tucking in their chair and keeping the environment clean and tidy.
As teachers we look for 4 characteristics in a child to observe if they are Normalized:
1. A love of work
3. Self-discipline, which is the ability to regulate their own behavior.
4. Sociability, which is the ability to be patient and respectful; not because the teacher told them to, but because they understand that it is reality. For example we only have one set of most materials in our classroom. Therefore, our students learn that they must wait to use a certain material, until another child has finished.
Even though all of our students are going through the normalization process right now, that doesn’t mean that they are not receiving lessons or advancing academically. Our second and third year students have jumped right back into their work. They are re-normalizing and working simultaneously!
Normalization is the single most important result of our work." ~ Maria Montessori