The Montessori Method of Language Acquisition

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In the mysterious period which follows immediately after birth, the child - who is a psychic entity endowed with a specially refined form of sensitiveness - might be regards as an ego asleep. But all of a sudden he wakes up and hears delicious music; all of his fibers begin to vibrate. The baby might think that no other sound had ever reached his ears, but really it was because his soul was not responsive to other sounds. Only human speech had any power to stir him. -Maria Montessori Maria Montessori believed that the desire to use language to communicate was an innate part of the human consciousness. "No one teaches the child, yet he comes to use nouns, verbs, and adjectives to perfection" (Montessori 1988). Children's evolving educational consciousness had to be shaped and guided, but adults had the responsibility to defer to the needs of the child and build upon the child's existing knowledge, versus imposing knowledge onto the child. Children learn best without a clear sense of having learned in a formal manner at all. The children Montessori educated in her schools were often the offspring of illiterate adults. Yet under her guidance they were able to learn to read and write, without ever having a sense of being formally instructed. The child may be 'asleep' at first, but gradually, by striving to wake the child and relate to him or her on his or her own terms, the child can acquire knowledge, including language. "No one teaches the child, yet he comes to use nouns,
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