Monday, February 29, 2016

Making Montessori Mine...

This past year, we jumped into the deep end of the Montessori pool. My son began going to the Children's House at a local Montessori school and I took a new teaching job this past fall at a brand new auditory/oral Montessori program for children who are deaf/hard of hearing.

In years past, I'd dabbled a bit with Montessori and introduced a handful of Montessori concepts into my last classroom with much success. The last few months have been filled with endless hours of independent study, reading, webinar watching and classroom observations as I worked to organize, set up and stock the shelves in my classroom. Thank God for generous bloggers and teachers who have created and provided a wealth of materials for FREE (I'll write about them later)!

I've worked hard to understand how Montessori will work for my students with special learning needs and have spend a great deal of time contemplating how Montessori's 'economy of language' will work with students who are language delayed and really need more frequent and intensive language interventions to stimulate their development of listening and spoken language skills. I think that I have finally come to a conclusion about how and why Montessori will work for my students:
Choosing words carefully & purposefully, while observing and waiting for just the right moment, when the student is ready and most receptive to our communication, has to be more productive than talking less discriminately all day with hopes that they'll benefit from the constant exposure to language. 
Traditionally in an auditory/oral preschool program, the teachers and therapists talk all day long with the idea that students must hear oral language in order to develop oral language. Since we usually don't have many children who talk much, we tend to fill in the gaps and provide the language model throughout the day.  The development of the auditory pathways in the brain begin in the womb, so even with early intervention and early amplification, the brain is still working on developing the ability to process sound effectively.  My students need much experience with sound - in its various forms- to build that auditory pathway in the brain.

I'm really looking forward to learning more about Montessori and figuring out how it can be best applied in my classroom!