24th of May, language and child’s development

Hello, dear parents,

As there is a very special day – 24th of May, I’d like to take that opportunity to bring your attention to language.

Let’s talk about the language not from the point of the today’s society that installs an urge to  think about education only as tool for transferring knowledge, but from the point of view of development of personality.

We know that the language is something that made us – human beings, to become the most powerful agent of creation on earth. Dr. Montessori refers to the human child as the agent of creation as it is the father of the Man. We all, as adults, are born from the child we have been.

We take it for granted but language is difficult to grasp because of reading, talking and writing.

If you are a parent of a very young child you know that in our environment the language is a means of building the psychic organs and independence. The child has the power of his mind to incarnate the language from his environment and to become a person of his place and time. The very act of learning language triggers the specialisation of the linguistic brain. Dr. Montessori explored the phenomenon of language development in children and discovered many of its principles, which now are being confirmed by neuropsychology. We understood the importance of the rich linguistic environment in the process of language  acquisition. The richness of experience and quality of language exposure influence the brain’s ability to organise and store language so that it can be used expressively and creatively. The language is that unique gift of adaptation that allows us not only to become a member of the place and culture and to participate in it.

Your child between 3 and 6 years of age can consciously turn his attention towards items of interest in language, but is still driven by forces from within. The child at this time is a sensorial explorer of the facts of language. One of the great discoveries that the child can make at this time is that words carry out functions. They have special jobs to do. They express thought in certain ways, answer questions and have special places they need to be for language to make sense. This is not grammar in any formal sense, but a help to reading and an awakening of interest in

words. The language is always there and is affiliated with every area of work and it is a major area. The children in primary environment learn and carry out exercises of practical life which have truly educational purpose. The reaction of the children could be described as “a burst for independence” and they learn to write at the age of 4.5 and learn to read spontaneously. The aim is a total reading.

So the children take their language to school (grade 1-4) in order to continue their journey towards total reading and self-expression. The role of the adult is to keep the language alive in the air. We are important instruments offering inspiration. Being able to write is equivalent to power. The written language is supernature, as it is created by the humans beyond nature. And when we write something we need to think what to write. The relevant and precise language allows children to discuss different aspect of society, world, universe. Grammar is thinking – the purpose of language is to say what we mean in a logical way, and the purpose of grammar is to help us say it. The elementary children discover that the grammar is a tool of expression and we must learn how to use our tools. They are able to verbalise their thought and this gives them a mental independence. Dr. Montessori says that the elementary child “must be able to carry on his own reasoning, his own judgement, his own thinking. We state that by being able to do these things for himself he acquires independence of thought.”

Here a lack of vocabulary might hinder one to participate in society and independent thinking, and brings misunderstanding. The enrichment of vocabulary is not done through studying isolated words, but in reading and conversations. The new word within the context – that is extremely important.

In adolescence community (grade 5-7) the language continues to be a means for communication and strengthens the community. We want our students to discuss, to debate, to be part of conversation knowing how to do this, and to present themselves and their work. It helps us to collaborate. Here the the work continues in two main directions – self-expression and development of the personality. We have freedom to communicate and limits which is the grace and courtesy, as language creates love, happiness and damages. The adolescents need to find their voice. For this the adolescents need to practice. The environment provides motives for practice. As they practice, they understand how they grow. There are different reasons for reading – for pleasure, for information. A good book can teach something about the world and something about themselves. It is like a private conversation with its author as the writer language unites. Through the books offered to the adolescents for pleasure or reference, they enlarge their understanding how the language can be presented. This knowledge help them to expand their thinking. The goal not just to make them knowledgable but to give orientation for life and help them to achieve independence – to be able to express themselves clearly and to understand different ideas and concepts.

Dr. Montessori says something very powerful: “We then become witnesses to the development of the human soul; the emergence of the New Man, who will no longer be the victim of events but, thanks to his clarity of vision, will become able to direct and to mould the future of mankind.”

That is the goal for every child in Otkrivatel, this is our mission and we are grateful what we share the journey of your child together.

Love + Respect,