Language development is perhaps the most crucial phase of your child’s formative journey. If not done right, your child could fail to refine their language skills, which is necessary to become competent. That is why enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool program designed to make every child a successful communicator is necessary.
Given the recent trend of homeschooling, many parents find it desirable to tutor their young children at home themselves. But in doing so, they often fail to create the progressive and learning-oriented atmosphere that Montessori programs excel at.
This article will explore how a Montessori Preschool program plays a key role in refining a child’s expression and oral skills.
- Activities Targeted toward Language-Development
Dr. Montessori was among the earliest astute observers of the fact children are born with an innate ability for expression. There is present in them the keen sense to develop a language from birth. Hence, it is up to those around them to create an atmosphere conducive to furthering their language refinement.
Perhaps the ‘Absorbent Mind’ theory Dr. Montessori developed decades ago is an apt example. The theory delves deeply into the fact that children from birth until age three can unconsciously grasp their environment.
More than grasping, they also begin molding themselves to the stimulation and information they can pick up from their environment. This research proves why an early childhood Montessori program is essential, especially regarding language development.
Dr. Montessori believes children from birth to six years of age consciously pick specific things in their environment. Those things enable them to build up their physical and mental faculties. After years of extensive research, even linguists agree that children build their language skills almost intuitively.
To cultivate their habit of deciphering and acquiring language, you should introduce them to an environment ripe with learning material. What could be a better place than a Montessori program for this?
A Montessori program is deliberately designed keeping the early stimulation needs in mind. There is a plethora of linguistic information everywhere, while trained Montessori teachers work on activities to promote language skills.
- A Montessori Preschool Program Utilizes the Window of Learning Opportunity
Dr. Montessori and other preschool programs emphasize the window of learning opportunity for children, also called ‘Sensitive Periods.’ According to early childhood educationists, children’s language development is sort of time-bound.
There is a critical period during the early phase of a child’s life in which they must experience the right language. If not done right again, the consequences will be similar to wiring gone wrong.
The quantity and quality of the language you expose your child to in this crucial sensitive phase will have an equivalent impact on their language skills for life. Therefore, exposing little children to an environment with many vocabulary and stimulation materials is critical.
At this stage, no matter how hard a family tries to create an environment conducive to language learning at home, it’s not enough. Parents often resort to television and online content to encourage language development.
However, it is important to note that these substitutes are unacceptable, for they often fail to connect with children’s emotions. For young minds to learn to express themselves correctly and well, adults and peers must speak to them directly and with abundant emotion.
While providing this consistently in a home environment may not be possible, a Montessori preschool program creates the language environment. The teachers, staff and students all engage in intellectual and age-appropriate language. There is a direct and constant flow of interaction, with many learning materials in the classroom to guide children in their expression.
Moreover, the earliest experiences of children with language in their environment profoundly impact their intellectual, emotional and social development. Language training has to start as early as three years, just the age for enrolling a child into a preschool Montessori program.
By timing it and designing it right, Montessori experts propel children on the sure paths of verbal achievement. With their years of cumulative language-teaching experience, they ensure every moment of this ‘sensitive period’ for children is well utilized.
- Language is given throughout the Day and in All the Areas
Dr. Montessori and all preschool programs observe that children explode into language learning. Hence, they curate their programs in a manner designed to capitalize on the earliest-learning phase of the children.
Montessori professionals give language throughout the day’s work to children and in all areas possible. Be it through writing, speaking, and singing or seeing, they fill the moments of each workday with language.
The teachers waste no opportunity to enrich the children’s vocabulary, expanding their capacity to express themselves and communicate. A child in a Montessori program is much better at expression in their ‘sensitive period’ than a child who is not. You may compare and see for yourself the distinct differences in the surfacing and shining of personalities of Montessori-going children.
Most Montessori programs follow a three-period lesson structure for teaching language. Through targeted lessons in those periods, the teachers can evaluate the language understanding of a child without stigmatizing or pressurizing them.
The goal of each Montessori teacher is to promote a child’s intrinsic motivation and not to thwart it. Thus, ever so subtly and gently, they bring out children’s language capabilities, identify shortcomings and set to work with curated activities to improve the weak areas.
Once a child can communicate and express themselves well, you will see their personalities begin to blossom, and their confidence shine through.
Montessori Approach to Language Development
As mentioned above, Dr. Montessori was among the first to recognize the ‘Sensitive Periods’ or crucial early learning phase of children. It highlighted that every child has a raging urge to learn a language in this period, from birth to age six.
Hence, Montessori designed a program for this age that ensures every child can learn a language without fatigue and effortlessly. Once a child crosses the age of six, the sensitive period has passed, and the prime time for instilling language learning and writing habits to goes by.
Parents who choose not to enroll their children into a Montessori preschool program before six will find it difficult to encourage writing and reading habits past this age. The Montessori program takes a targeted approach during this ideal phase, in which every child undergoes a language-mastering process well before their elementary years begin.
A special language area is created just for this purpose in preschool programs. It comprises of:
- Spoken language
- Reading area
- Vocabulary enrichment
- Reading classification
- Written language
- Word functions
- Word study
- Interpretive reading and more
All these specialized areas provide every child with many forms of language learning to satiate their learning needs and refine communication. After all, a child that speaks well adapts to their culture.
Impact of Montessori Teachers on Language Development
One of the drawbacks of not sending a child to Montessori programs is the lack of reciprocal and targeted interactions that foster impressive learning skills. The impact of Montessori teachers in this regard is invaluable, as their primary work is to create reciprocal interactive sessions.
They focus on three main types of language skills that children in their Sensitive Period for language can benefit from. These include:
Teachers design classroom activities and lessons that highlight pragmatic language. The latter is the kind of language we use in social settings, helping children learn to know what to say and how to say it in different situations for the desired outcome.
This language type requires role-playing, scenario building and vocabulary to improve a child’s understanding.
Receptive language refers to vocabulary building, comprising words children can understand at this age. While they may not necessarily incorporate those words in their communication during the early phase, exposing them to a broad range of vocabulary is necessary.
Montessori teachers focus on instilling an expansive language understanding and being expressive with children.
Another primary area of language that Montessori teachers particularly work on is expressive language. They curate daily classroom lessons in a way that introduces and instills words in children that they ought to use in daily conversations.
Language skills are crucial to make children confident, expressive and strong communicators of tomorrow. To help children polish those crucial skills well before their elementary years, it is imperative to introduce them to a well-designed Montessori preschool program.
At Montessori Learning Centre, we create hands-on learning experiences with activities and learning materials designed to make each child a confident communicator.
For a unique childcare and Montessori Early Childhood program contact Montessori Learning Centre at https://montessorilearning.ca
Tel 587 353 2888 or reach us at [email protected]