“The development of language is part of the development of the personality, for words are the natural means of expressing thoughts and establishing understanding between people.” Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that the ‘sensitive period’ to absorb language is from around 3 months of age up to the age of 6 years. Moreover, from infancy, babies are absorbing language naturally without formal instruction. Therefore, practitioners are mindfully aware to use appropriate language and the correct terminology when communicating with babies and children.
The area of Language is embedded throughout every Montessori area of learning and within a language rich, prepared environment a child can learn new words and expand their vocabulary – essential for the foundation of developing later reading skills.For example, exercises in the area of Practical Life, Sensorial and Cultural expand a child’s vocabulary immensely.
After which comes the Sandpaper Letters and Alphabet Box, Language Boxes and word and picture cards. Incorporating a daily story time, library sessions, Story Bags and literacy materials develops phonetic literacy and sound recognition.
Morning ‘Self – Registration’ encourages children to write their own name, and Weekly News sessions during circle time help to develop communication and oral skills.
“This system in which a child is constantly moving objects with his hands and actively exercising his senses, also takes into account a child’s special aptitude for mathematics. When they leave the material, the children very easily reach the point where they wish to write out the operation. They thus carry out an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculation.” Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the human mind is mathematically wired from birth: Babies have developed in the womb with the sound and rhythm of their mother’s heartbeat, and unconsciously absorbed the regularity of the light of day and dark of night.
Mathematical concepts continue to be all around us from birth: time to eat, time to play, big and small, full and empty, one more, and so on. By the time a child enters into nursery or kindergarten they have unconsciously formed the very basics of many mathematical areas.
While engaged with Practical Life exercises a child develops concrete concepts of capacity and weight. Or learns about shapes, dimensions and size with Sensorial materials. Later on, with the Numerical Rods, Sandpaper Numerals and Golden Beads more advanced mathematical and decimal concepts are practiced and learned.
We can see that from the early stages of Practical Life, then moving through the Cultural and Sensorial areas, a child’s skills and knowledge are developed and refined so that he or she is in full readiness for Language and Mathematical development.
To conclude, the Montessori method scaffolds and enriches a child’s learning pathway, in a truly holistic approach, developing the whole child to absorb the whole world.