The Montessori language philosophy had me at “hello.”
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” ~ Dr. Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori viewed child development as a holistic process. There should not be memorization of skills and knowledge thereby “transferring” skills and knowledge to a child. A child should be encouraged and guided to discover learning on his own. This approach will result in a lifetime love of learning and curiosity of life.
Dr. Montessori is perhaps most well known for the phrase: “the absorbent mind.” She viewed children’s acquisition of language to embody this idea as children absorb their environment and shape their brains unconsciously during the first three years of a child’s life. Thus, the information and experiences available to a child within his environment greatly impact his language development. As a child grows older, from three to six years old, he consciously leans on his environment to build on the information absorbed in their earlier years. The adult can facilitate his learning by creating an environment, just as the adult did for the unconscious stage, ripe for this conscious learning.
Dr. Montessori viewed language as communication, as a way to tell your story about how you see the world, not simply learning to read and write. She believed in allowing a child to discover reading and writing at his own developmental pace, often simultaneously, never forcing a child to read or to write. Furthermore, the environment played a huge part in Dr. Montessori’s approach to language at home and at school. Along with other great child development minds, Dr. Montessori believed language learning is at least partly driven by a child’s social environment.
There is more to come on this topic of language development. I have written quite a few Language Development posts.