Normalization in Montessori

Unconventional, eccentric, and extraordinary are some adjectives that best describe the Montessori Method of education. 

Children during the initial stages of development are consistently searching for new knowledge and stimuli present in their surrounding environment. 

When given the opportunity to independently explore their surroundings children are to reach their maximum potential. 

The Montessori philosophy incorporates unique principles and concepts that promote the optimum development of young minds. 

The term ‘normalization’ may seem perplexing to most parents who are not fully acquainted with the Montessori Philosophy. 

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that each child passes through the normal stage where they are capable of working alone or in groups, with respect to their surrounding environment. 

In the Montessori Method of education, the term ‘normalization’ doesn’t refer to the child becoming average, in fact, it refers to stages during the development process. 

If you are a parent who wants to gain intimate knowledge of the Montessori Philosophy, look no further. 

Below is everything you should know about the concept of normalization in The Montessori Method of Education.

What does Normalization Mean?

The term normalization in Montessori often refers to something more than ordinary, normal, or average. 

The term normalization essentially describes a child’s ability to focus, concentrate, and perform tasks independently in a Montessori environment. 

Normalization not only promotes children to independently perform tasks that require prolonged periods of focus but also facilitates the development of self-discipline. 

In simpler terms, Normalization in a Montessori Environment is acquiring internal freedom, willingness to initiate work, as well as adhering to the basic rules of the environment. 

The Montessori Prepared environment facilitates the Normalization of children by providing them with engaging Montessori materials, freedom to explore their surrounding environment, a three-hour uninterrupted work cycle, and indulging in auto-didactic activities.

What are the characteristics of the process of Normalization?

In her book ‘The Absorbent Mind, 1949 Dr. Maria Montessori described the process of Normalization as “the most important single result of our whole work”. 

The process of normalization in Montessori is based on internal freedom, willingness to work, and self-discipline

In order to develop a more intimate knowledge of the term Normalization it is important to recognize the following characteristics:

Concentration and focus:

Concentration is the ability to focus and perform tasks that require prolonged periods of concentration. 

Love for Work:

Love for work in terms of normalization refers to the ability to willingly and independently find joy in performing tasks.

Sociability:

Sociability is the ability to coordinate, sympathize, and work with other members of the environment. 

Self-Discipline:

Self-discipline is the ability to conduct oneself in accordance with the surrounding environment and engineer capacity in the pursuit of mastery. 

The Three-Period Lessons and Normalization in Montessori:

As a part of Montessori Education, the process of normalization is introduced to the child in the form of three-period lessons. 

The three-period Montessori Lesson promotes children to develop the following abilities that facilitate optimum development:

  1. Preparation for Work :
    Prerequisite preparation for work requires a collection of necessary materials that allow children to easily participate in Montessori activities.
    Another prerequisite for work is the preparation of the mind that allows children to focus. 
  2. Work :
    Work in accordance with Normalization refers to performing tasks or activities with prolonged periods of focus and concentration. 
  3. Rest :
    Rest or completion is the last stage of the Montessori three-period lesson which depicts the satisfaction the child gains post completion of work. 

What are the Stages of Normalization in Montessori?

The process of Normalization in Montessori refers to the development of self-discipline, focus, and willingness to independently work. 

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, there are in total three stages a child passes through to reach the stage of normalization. 

Upon the successful completion of the Montessori Work Cycle, children are able to reach the requisite stages of Normalization. 

Here is a brief description of the three stages of Normalization in Montessori:

Stage One of Normalization:

The first stage of normalization is evident in children below the age of three or during the introduction to the primary classroom. 

During this time the child is newly introduced to the fascinating Montessori Prepared Environment. 

The child during this stage is getting accustomed to the new environment and beginning to comprehend the working elements in the environment. 

The child is invited to participate in the Montessori Practical Life area and begin to develop self-discipline as well as a sense of pride. 

Practical life activities such as grace and courtesy and practical life materials such as dressing frames are introduced to build the child’s confidence as well as foster independence. 

After the completion of the activities, the child gains a new sense of confidence, and the satisfaction upon completion establishes the first stage of Normalization. 

Although provided with ample independence to develop self-motivation, the child during the first stage of Normalization is not fully equipped to bear the responsibility of full freedom. 

The Second Stage of Normalization:

The Second Stage of Normalization prepares the child to achieve self-discipline and experience full freedom. 

During this, the child is capable of moving from one activity to another fairly quickly during the three-hour work cycle. 

During the second stage of normalization, the child is an explorer who wants to partake in new and exciting activities, seldom repeating the same materials. 

The child during the second stage of normalization is able to benefit from demonstration, repetitions, and instructions. 

The Third Stage of Normalization:

During the Third stage of Normalization, the child is six years of age and has completed their preschool years. 

By the third stage of Normalization, the child is able to perform tasks with focus, participate in activities independently, and use materilas.

During the third stage of normalization the child is able to perform auto-didactic, self-directed, and collaborative activities.

Why is Normalization in Montessori Important?

According to Dr. Maria Montessori when children are placed in an appropriate educational setting, they are able to learn and live in harmony with their surrounding environment.

Normalization in Montessori is a developmental process, that allows children to become contributing members of the community.

Normalization incorporates the ability to work with focus and concentration as well as develop inner peace.

When the child achieves the three levels or stages of normalization they are able to understand the ground rules of the Montessori Prepared Environment and gain an appreciation for learning.

Normalization allows children to perform tasks prolonged periods of focus, coordinate with their peers, and develop discipline from within.