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Early Childhood - Essay Example

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Early Childhood Date Abstract The essay aims to discuss the Montessori approach to language development. The essay will also discuss the sensitive periods of a child. The Three Period Lesson, a method used in the language development of a child, will also be explained…
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Early Childhood

Download file to see previous pages... According to Montessori, “the development of articulate speech occurs between the ages two and five --- the age of perception in which the attention of the child is spontaneously directed to external objects and the memory is particularly attentive” (Montessori, Chapter 18, 2004). Montessori said that there are four stages in the language development which are the auditory or listening, oral, manual and interpretive (reading). She also introduced the concept of sensitive periods which are critical for a child’s development. The sensitive period is that period in a child’s development whereby he is unconsciously aware that a certain skill is to be learned at that period. It is the time when a person has the best opportunity to learn something. Examples of the sensitive periods in a child’s environment are the sensitivity to movement, sensitivity to order, sensitivity to language and sensitivity to sensory impressions. Sensitivity to movement occurs at ages two to four. This is the time when the child moves around in order to learn about his environment. Practical life exercises are used in Montessori schools during this sensitive period. Practical life exercises is one of the four areas of the Montessori prepared environment. This area resembles the work at home such as washing the dishes or sweeping the floor. The teacher introduces the name of the activity while the movement is being performed. Social grace and courtesy activities are introduced such as the use of “May I” or “Can I”. Language skills are further developed from these practical life activities. Sensitivity to order also occurs at the same time as the sensitivity to movement. Sensitivity relates to spatial, social, sensory and temporal. Children at this age become more aware of the order in time and space. According to Montessori at this stage, order becomes the child’s foundation to make sense of his environment. Another important sensitive period is that of the sensitivity to language which is one of the longest-lasting sensitive periods which starts at age three to six. After this period the rate of absorption for new words will never be the same again. The child becomes attracted to human sounds which drive him to speak his native language. After age six, the sensitive period for language weakens and the child then moves on to grammar work as he improves his reading skills. The sensitivity to sensory impression is another period in a child’s development. This is when the child becomes interested in his environment and wants to learn more about it. This need is answered by Montessori’s sensorial training where the senses are being developed and refined. An important method used in teaching language in Montessori schools is the Three Period Lesson which is a teaching technique used to give formal vocabulary lessons. Language is given after experience of that which is to be named. The three periods support the three stages of learning. The First Period (Naming) is an introduction of the names to be learned by presenting names that are nouns using color tablets. The colour tablets which were used in the sensorial training of the child are also used in this activity. The first step is to lay the primary colors in a row in front of the child. One color is isolated and the teacher says the name of the color after which the child is encouraged to say the same. The same procedure is repeated for the other colors. The Second Period (Recognition) is the practice of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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