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Language in the Montessori Casa classrooms include the specialized Language curriculum and materials. It is also a pervasive element in every day life and in all interactions between children and adults. From the time the child enters the classroom, a rich vocabulary surrounds him or her; this is especially evident as our 2 ½ year old children converse with the older children.
Children are given Language to help acclimate them and socialize them to the classroom community. Many of these interactions are covered under “Grace & Courtesy.” Please click here to read more about “Grace & Courtesy.”
As the child is introduced to direct Language learning and training, phonetic sounds and symbols are emphasized. Please click here to read the blog post about “Language Training at Home and at School.”
The English language is beautifully rich and nuanced. Outlined below are some activities introduced to the children after he or she is familiar with all the phonetic sounds in the alphabet.
Photographed below are objects with corresponding labels. The child sounds each individual letter out and learns to blend these sounds into complete words. The child then matches the label to the objects laid out on his or her table. The child first works with 3 letter phonetic words and progresses through longer words with practice.
The child then works through reading short phonetic phrases and sentences. Phonetic books can be introduced.
Once the child has shown a mastery of the phonetic sounds, a child is then introduced to the idea that different two letter combinations create a new sound – a phonogram. Photographed below is the small moveable alphabet. The child uses the material to build and spell each word that corresponds to the image. The new sound is highlighted with red letters.
Word lists and booklets are also available for the children to practice reading and identifying the various phonograms they build and spell.
Children are also introduced to cards with many common irregular words. Children are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these words through a Montessori three-period lesson. Children learn around three words at a time with their directress. One word is identified and introduced at a time and a game of identification occurs. After some work and repetition, the child will be able to identify the word by sight.
Once the child has been able to build and spell, he or she can begin putting words together in sentences. The child is also introduced to the idea of capitalization and punctuation. Photographed below is the Story Alphabet. As the children become more comfortable with phonograms and irregular words, their stories increasingly become more complex.
Through a variety of other materials in the classroom, children are also introduced to grammar. These include the noun, article, adjective, verb, adverb, conjunction, and preposition. Each is introduced individually through a variety of activities and then analyzed to determine their placement in sentences and phrases.The chart of symbols on the left is used in both Casa and Elementary Montessori classrooms to highlight each part of speech.
To make himself heard, man no longer depended on the volume of his voice. With the alphabet, he could be heard from one continent to another, from yesterday to tomorrow. He could reach people distant in space and in time. Without uttering a sound – in silence – his thoughts could be heard all over the world at the same time.
Mario Montessori, quoting his mother, Maria Montessori