“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

Afbeelding voor “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”
Exactly one hundred years ago, the Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, wrote one of his most famous claims saying that: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”. Regardless of whether he was one 100 per cent right or maybe exaggerated a little bit its role, we know today that language is a human characteristic and verbal communication is our unique tendency, and we are fully aware of how important language development is in early years.

Montessori recognised the immense significance of the development of language, suggesting that “Once the child can speak, he can express himself and no longer depends on others to guess his needs. He finds himself in touch with human society, for people can only communicate by means of language. Learning to speak, therefore, and the power it brings of intelligent converse with others, is a most impressive further step along the path of independence” (The Absorbent Mind, 2007: 90, Kindle Edition).

In the Montessori environment, especially during the first plane of development, language is acquired naturally, with pleasure and joy, because children quickly realise that language broadens their horizons, gives opportunity for self-expression, and helps to create and maintain relations.

Language learning, also that of a second one, opens new cognitive and social opportunities, so it is not a coincidence that scholars are very much interested, and conduct research, in this area.  The learning of a second language in the early years used to be viewed as an interference with language development, but research now shows that this is not the case at all and that, instead, it stimulates learning in all developmental areas as this article sets out.

Whilst there is no curriculum or model for second language acquisition within Montessori education, in his chapter Foreign Languages in the Montessori Environment, (from page 287) Jarosław Jendza, PhD set out that foreign or second language – as other areas – can and should be introduced in the Montessori environment in accordance with all Montessori principles.

This week, during Montessori Europe Research Group Webinar, Romali Rosales Chavarria will present some of her research findings conducted in America and Europe on bilingualism and second language acquisition and you can read the full text article here.

Join us on Wednesday 20 October at 19.00 (CEST) to learn more about this fascinating topic. For more information about the webinar, see our website and to register, click here. The webinar is free and open for all to attend. Recording and certificates of attendance available for members of Montessori Europe. Learn more about becoming a member here.