Look Who’s Talking! A Child’s Thirst for Language Development

“Words are your [child’s] best friends. They are bridges of understanding and passages that seed all of humanity.” (Montessori Today, Paula Polk Lillard)

A child thirsts for new language like they thirst for water. They crave new language experiences for many reasons; to be in touch with their surroundings, engaged in their environment, and to communicate with others around them. We want to provide a variety of language opportunities for children, especially between the ages of birth to six years, when the child is in the “sensitive period” for language development.

At HBMH, our community is well equipped with language-rich learning opportunities. We talk to the children and adult with respect, modeling how to interact in a positive, productive way. We model grace and courtesy so the child understands proper social interactions. Every lesson is an opportunity to expand upon the child’s language development.

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In Montessori, we discourage talking to a newborn in a “baby voice”. Instead, we carry on conversations and talk to them as if talking to another adult. We share stories with them, and encourage them to respond. We “coo” in response to their little noises to show that their words and noises matter, and that they can communicate their needs through language. Our tone of voice conveys a specific message and emotion. We tell them what we’re going to do before we do it. For instance, “I’m going to pick you up”, or “I’m going to wipe your nose”, and so forth. Continue reading

The Montessori Journey – Birth to 6 Years

 

“the task of the child is the formation of man, oriented to his environment, adapted to his time, place and culture.” – Dr. Maria MontessoriDSC_0753

From early infancy, our children are preparing themselves for the more complex works and materials in the toddler and primary communities. In Montessori, we believe that “the task of the child is the formation of man, oriented to his environment, adapted to his time, place and culture”. Therefore, it is our job as Montessori educators to protect the child’s “task”, aiding in their development as they continue to form the person they will be for the rest of their lives. In order to do that, we need to understand the purpose that each Montessori material holds, and recognize the important role that they will play in the child’s development. For instance, the pink tower, while simple in appearance, helps prepare the child for a diversity of life skills, such as visual discrimination of dimensions in height/width, and adding the cubes together (math), refinement of voluntary movement which helps control muscle movement as they grow older, they’re also learning visual-motor coordination which is called upon to concentrate. This lesson goes far beyond introducing them to math. That is how many of the materials in our school work; they introduce and build upon lessons that the child will receive as they grow older. Each one serves a specific purpose in the child’s development. Continue reading