Montessori Language Materials are the most important materials in any Montessori environment. Montessori philosophy is effective due to its whole child development approach. All learning areas in a Montessori classroom serve the purpose of developing the child emotionally, mentally, physically, socially and intellectually. What does the MONTESSORI LANGUAGE MATERIALS do? Before we answer this question, we need to know what MONTESSORI LANGUAGE MATERIALS are?
MONTESSORI LANGUAGE MATERIALS help to develop all four language skills…yes….listening, speaking, reading and writing. In my other post about Montessori I discussed about how Montessori method is a science of happiness and emphasizes upon using the scientific material. Like any scientific approach Montessori method is organized, measured and exact. All exercises are well-developed and thoughtfully selected. There is a logical sequence in all the lessons, a Montessori teacher prepares for the children in her classroom.
Listening skill is the most important skill in any language learning. A child starts listening when he is in her mom’s womb……Yes, long before he is born. You can find activities to develop listening skills in a Montessori classroom. There are some other exercises to develop speaking, reading and writing skills. Each exercise or activity is connected with other language activities but at the same time its focus remains on one specific language skill. For example, story listening not just develops listening but also reading.
Montessori Language Materials serve language learning but language learning is happening in the whole Montessori environment every moment. How Montessori environment serves as a big collection of Montessori Language materials? Well, each Montessori environment has materials and objects….so you can guess how…. Yes the names of the objects and materials in the Montessori environment are the big source of Language materials we need in a Montessori environment or a class. Even the activities and the language to describe those activities also serve the purpose.
There are always some books in the classroom. In the Montessori classroom reading area has a very important role. Teachers can use this area to develop language and social skills. The collection of books is a huge opportunity for any teacher to keep the class interested and engaged. Children love to spend time in the reading area. Organizing our library area in such a way that serves all interests and all ages ( 3 to 6 years) performs a huge responsibility without adding extra effort. In the Montessori classroom the mixed age group works so well. All 5 years old can read to 3 years old. Children help each other in the all learning areas of the classroom. Book reading on daily basis helps to develop listening and speaking skills obviously. It also serves as the basic Language resource to learn other language skills like to read and writing. Children not just learn how to read but also initial language skills which are necessary to build a strong language learning foundation. For example:
- knowing that words have meanings
- reading starts from left to right
- each word has sounds and so on.
As we have discussed, the whole Montessori room acts as Language Materials, but the Language area in any Montessori classroom is specific for the Montessori Language Materials and language exercises.
- Language Exercises:
- Sand paper letters
- Movable alphabets
- Sound game
- Metal Insets
- Animal Farm
- Phonetic and Phonograms
- Sight Words
- Vocabulary Cards
- Classified reading cards
- Word Study
- Sentence Building
There are also recommended options to change and rotate the materials just to keep appropriate challenge for some children who learn quickly and for others who get bored easily.
The News period, Story time and Logical thinking are some other language exercises which can be done in small groups. Yes, there are a lot of one on one exercises and some small group lessons in the Montessori classrooms. Some teachers can include Show and tell if they want.
In the Montessori classroom, children have a choice so they can do reading, writing, tracing, matching in the language area. They can also work with the material as they have been taught or shown. After every presentation by the teacher, children are able to do the work independently.
That is the beauty of the Montessori classroom. It develops independence skill. It can not happen in a day or two or even some weeks. It takes a lot of practice. When we talk about practice, we can go to the next topic.
Yes, Practice, Practice and a lot of practice. Honestly, children can forget easily if they are not doing practice of their lessons every day. It is easy to provide practice time especially when the teacher is busy teaching any student. Most of the lessons are one on one so the Montessori teachers have to spare a lot of time for them. It’s great if some children are working independently.
Practice can be direct and indirect. We can also call it preparation. Long before starting working independently in language area or any area, children get prepared directly and indirectly. For example, they need to develop concentration skill before they engage in any activity for a long time. Their hands need to be prepared for holding a pencil and writing something. Some other examples of indirect preparation are learning sounds, letters and vocabulary words before to read and writing.
Integration of Different Learning Areas
The Montessori teachers can do amazing things and if you are choosing Montessori method and applying it to your wonderful class then you can do it too….. Integration of all learning areas in a Montessori classroom can do wonders…. Montessori classroom is a world…..a world like our own physical world. The skills and knowledge we learn in one area of our life in a real life actually helps in other areas of our life. Right?? In a Montessori world children spend their initial and basic learning years. The Montessori Primary and Montessori Assistance to Infancy/Toddlers years are the foundation years. The time and effort we can put to build a strong, healthy and happy foundation depends on our awareness. The knowing makes us powerful. Reading about developmental stages and learning skills to fulfilling needs and requirements of our children at the right time is the key to a successful and happy future.
The integration of all learning areas and taking care of all developmental needs are two most important hidden tools to empower a Montessori trained person. It can be a teacher or a parent. Language exercises can be interesting and engaging and can create independence and love of learning if children are already prepared through indirect preparation and other exercises of different learning areas.
Consistency and Organization
Last but not the least…. Yes, doing things at the right time consistently and maintaining discipline enrich the Language learning process. Practice and consistent work can not be compared to even highest quality of Language Material. Organization also means following the sequence in Language exercises. A child can only learn to read and writing when he knows sounds of the letters and he can read sentences when he is able to read words….and not just words but a lot of words….Yes!
In a Montessori classroom, there is enormous amount of Language material and the teacher keeps adding and rotating material to offer challenge and keep interest. Children feel excited to work or practice every day with the same and new materials. When a child graduates from the primary Montessori he is expected to know how to speak, read and write. He reads small story books, sign boards, calendars and names of different things. He writes one to 5 five or some times more extended sentences. Amazing! Right! All because of Montessori method and Montessori Language Material.