With the new school year up and running, parents of new NAMCC students will no doubt hear the term “normalization” throughout the next several months. Some parents may immediately get defensive when hearing this term, as it sounds like bureaucratic brainwashing jargon.However “normalization” is a healthy, developmental process that encourages children’s self-discipline, decision making, interpersonal skills, and joy of meaningful work.
Understanding Meaningful Work
The last goal of normalization joy ofmeaningful work—may not sound like the most fun activity to adults who have countless obligations day in and day out. However, most children naturally enjoy participating in and completing work with a purpose. This can include any practical life activity from sweeping a floor to caring for a plant. Meaningful work shows children how and why they should affect their environment in positive ways.
Normalization is a Process
Normalization is not a single lesson taught to children in a traditional lecture. Instead, directresses use prepared environments to encourage children to learn and explore on their own with objects and tasks. Giving children the chance to explore independently and at their own pace leads to self-discipline and self-esteem, both of which will help them succeed for the rest of their lives. However, “independent” learning does not necessarily mean avoiding interaction with other children. In fact, Montessori classrooms encourage children to work together, particularly for older children to take leadership roles and help younger children.
Connecting Directresses with Parents
A normalized Montessori classroom takes time and effort from teachers and parents. Therefore, a constructive dialogue should exist between both parties. Parents should talk to your child’s directress if you have questions about normalization or your child’s progress. Teachers should encourage parents to continue normalization activities outside the classroom and be prepared to offer suggestions for prepared environments at home.