The Montessori Method of Education lays heavy emphasis on facilitating holistic development to children. The Montessori Method of education promotes hands-on learning which encourages children to understand, self-correct, and flourish at their own pace with trial and error. In order to facilitate the overall development of children the Montessori method of teaching focuses on three key aspects: Practical, Formal skills, and sensory development. The specifically designed curriculum and environment of Montessori schools encourage the child to venture out of their comfort zone. One of the key features of the montessori curriculum is the incorporation of Cosmic Education that covers the interrelated discipline areas like Language, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, Biology, Creative Arts, Physical Education, and an additional Language Other than English.
The Montessori Language curriculum is designed to help children understand the intricacies of verbal as well as the written language. Unlike, traditional educational institutions, the Montessori Language curriculum is more than just textbooks and lectures.
The Montessori Language Curriculum provides children with interactive language materials as well as encourages them to participate in immersive activities. These activities and materials help the children develop language skills that help them express themselves free and fluently as well as facilitate the development of fine motor skills.
The Montessori Language activities heavily focus on the sensitive periods, where children are more susceptible to stimuli and gaining information. The recognition of the sensitive periods is vital for the linguistic development of children, especially during the first six years. The Montessori Language activities are a unique feature of the Montessori Method that helps children gradually progress from verbal language to written language at their own pace.
There are multiple activities and lessons the children are provided that are suitable for different stages of development. These activities along with their required materials help children attain higher levels of linguistic attainments.
Language Activities For Infants: Birth to 2 years
The language skills start to develop right after the child is born, even if the child is unable to vocalize. The parents and teachers should notice the child’s attempts to speak or imitate language. During this stage, the child mostly learns through their senses as well as the surrounding environment.
The Montessori Curriculum for the Nido program does not provide specific language materials or activities for infants but, the parents can speak clearly, ready, or sing loudly as well as use picture books or picture cards to help the child get acquainted with words before they are able to speak. Some Activities that can facilitate the Montessori Language curriculum to infants are:
- Visual Stimulation with Black and White Cards
- Sound Pouches
Language Activities For Toddlers: 3 to 6 years
The children have an “absorbent mind” between the ages of 3 to 6 years and are able to absorb the knowledge, stimuli as well as information in the surrounding environment like a sponge. The Montessori method promotes self-directed learning which allows children to joyfully learn by their experience at their own pace.
During this stage, the toddler gradually transitions from spoken language to written language. The Montessori curriculum promotes the use of spoken language as a medium of self-expression. The children are gradually introduced to reading through the use of concrete materials starting from sandpapers, language cards, blocks to develop their reading skills. Enrichment of vocabulary is essential at this stage. The materials and activities for this stage are:
Oral Language Activities:
- Object Matching:
The activity is introduced to children between the ages of 2.5 to 3 years. This Activity introduces multiple objects which they have to associate with the matching sound. This activity helps children with visual discrimination as well as helps them build their vocabulary.
This activity is introduced to children when they turn 3 years of age. The activity helps children identify as well as associate sounds with words. The children are provided with small objects or figurines to identify and isolate sounds.
- Three-Period Vocabulary lessons:
The lessons are conducted in a three-step process that includes:
- Recalling the objects
Other activities in the Montessori Language Curriculum are Picture cards and Nomenclature cards.
Writing Language Activities
- Learn letters and alphabets with Sandpaper letters
Sandpaper letters are square sandpaper tiles that have alphabetical letters formed on them. The children are able to identify and associate the sounds of the letters with the help of this activity. The vowels are blue in color and the consonants are red in color. The sandpaper letter Activity is an innovative way to help children learn alphabets.
- Expand the vocabulary of shapes with Metal Insets:
Montessori Metal Insets are language tools that prepare children for writing. The activity comprises 10 metal square pieces that include: Pink wooden frames and blue metal shapes with a knob in the center.
- Learn new words with Vocabulary Cards:
This activity is introduced to children between the ages of 3 to 6 years. The vocabulary cards are also called Three-Part Matching cards and are used during the early stages of reading. After children successfully master identifying and associating sounds with letters, the Vocabulary cards are provided to children to further enhance their vocabulary. The vocabulary cards comprise image cards, matching word cards, and a third card that shows the proper word and image combination. The Montessori vocabulary cards are a great shift from concrete material activities to more abstract activities.
- Associate sounds with Pre-selected Object Box:
The Montessori object box is an innovative as well as an interactive activity that is introduced to toddlers to help them learn how to read and spell. The pre-selected object boxes contain objects or images of objects along with a set of Moveable letters. The students are instructed to match the letters with the objects or images. As the students progress they will be able to form complete words with the help of this activity.
- Create Words with Moveable Alphabets:
The Montessori Moveable Alphabets comprises several pieces of alphabets that are manufactured out of wood. These Alphabetical pieces come in two wooden boxes which contain 26 compartments each. The pieces are organized in alphabetical order inside the box. The Moveable Alphabets activity is used to help children learn how to read, write, and spell in an innovative way. The Montessori alphabets are one of the most versatile and diverse learning materials in the Montessori Language Curriculum.
- Rhyming cards:
Montessori Rhyming Cards Activity is introduced to toddlers after they are fully acquainted with alphabets and words. With the help of this activity, the children will be able to explore the relationship between multiple words. The Rhyming cards come in different sets, with each set containing an exact number of pieces, rhyming objects, and rhyming boards to help children self-correct as well as form rhymes and sentences independently.
- Sentence-Building cards:
The Montessori Sentence-Building cards are used to improve the child’s sentence-building skills. Each Sentence-Building card is color-coded, with each color indicating different aspects of speech.
Language Activities For Elementary Children: 6+ years
From age 6 the child starts developing the ability to reason. The child is able to raise complex questions and draw conclusions. The ages between 6 to 9 are the years of curiosity. The children start understanding the functioning of the world and the importance of morality. The child is able to set boundaries and is able to follow social norms. The Montessori curriculum further develops the child’s linguistic skills. After the child reaches the elementary school level, a huge emphasis is laid on comprehension, grammar, creative writing, and fluency in a language.
The children are promoted to learn 7 main parts of speech that include: