One of many challenges for the modern parent is helping their child learn a language. The natural inclination is to enroll them in a language immersion program, which might be more effective, but it is not always possible.
Montessori language materials provide a simple alternative to more intensive approaches. The Montessori Method offers clear and interesting lessons specifically designed for children’s natural development of language skills from infancy through adolescence. Furthermore, children are motivated to learn because they are interested in the materials.
This article will explore using Montessori language materials and activities to help children learn a language. We will consider a variety of situations in which children might be using an additional language and the types of activities they might engage in.
What are the Montessori Language Materials and Activities?
The Montessori Language Materials and Activities are a series of hands-on materials designed to help children learn through play. These materials can be used with any child, regardless of language level or ability.
The Montessori Language Materials and Activities use a language development scale to help parents select the right materials for their child’s current stage of development. This scale is based on an age range and developmental level based on research in the field of child language.
Montessori teaches that children learn language naturally through their self-guided activities with materials. The parent’s role is to provide a stimulating environment and individualized activities based on their child’s developmental needs.
Introducing each of the following:
- Oral language
- Parts of speech
Montessori language materials have the following characteristics:
- Work on one language skill at a time
- Are age-appropriate
- Consist of pictures and written words, so they are concrete and easier to understand
- Engage the child by manipulating the materials
- Using multisensory learning methods, the child learns about language concepts in multiple ways
Montessori Language Materials and Activities List
This is a list of Montessori language materials and activities by age. These materials are great for helping your child develop their language skills!
Montessori Oral Language Activities
Age: Pre-K to Grade 5
Length of activity: Under 10 minutes
Developmental goal: To increase recognition and imitation of sounds and improve listening skills
What To Do:
To play, all you need to do is say “Simon says” before giving any commands. For example: “Simon says, touch your nose.” Or, “Simon says, hop like a kangaroo.” If they do as you say without being told first, they lose the game and have to start over again.
For this activity, aim to keep it simple with just one command at a time. You can always add more commands later as it becomes easier for your child to follow them!
Length of activity: 15 minutes
Developmental goal: To improve your child’s language skills and memory
- A variety of household items for children to search for
- A timer that ticks loud enough for everyone to hear it
What To Do:
Start by hiding an object somewhere in your room. Then ask your child what they think it might be. If they guess correctly, tell them it was easy and give them another chance. If they guess wrong, give them a clue by saying something like, “It’s big.” If they still don’t guess correctly, provide them with another indication—something like “It’s brown.” Keep going until your child figures out what it is!
This activity works on spatial reasoning skills, essential for many things later in life like art, architecture, and engineering.
Length of activity: 20-30 minutes
This activity is great for teaching language skills like prepositions and modifiers. It also provides an opportunity to teach children about the importance of taking turns.
Materials: A large piece of paper for each player, markers or crayons, and a timer (if you want to keep track of the time).
What To Do:
This game requires more participants than other activities, so it’s helpful to have a bigger space to play. The goal is for each child to take turns passing a message from one person to another.
Kids begin by whispering a sentence (it could be anything—a short phrase, a sentence, or even a word) to the next person. Then they relay it to their neighbor and so on until the last person announces it out loud. The player who guesses the most facts about the message wins!
Montessori Writing Activities
Sandpaper letters are a great way to introduce the concept of letter formation to young children.
Developmental goal: To learn upper & lowercase letters and improve your child’s fine motor skills
- Sandpaper letters
- Paint or markers (optional)
This activity is simple: all you need is some sandpaper and a few letters. Cut out any word or phrase you want (they can be big or small) and write it on the sandpaper. Then, have your little one trace over it with his finger as often as he needs to until he’s mastered the word! This activity is excellent for practicing letter formation, too. You can also make up some of your own terms if you like!
Sand Tray is a language-based activity that uses sand to create objects and scenes. It is used to encourage children to understand the concepts of size, shape, and position in relation to each other.
Developmental goal: To improve language & artistic development and to teach size, shape & position concepts
- Sand tray-Box of sand or sand from the beach (if you live near one)
- Small objects for the children to place in the sand like pebbles, rocks, etc.
First, show the children how to place sand in a tray. Then, show them how to build objects out of it and place them inside. Let them experiment!
The next step is to explain the concepts of size, shape, and position. For instance, you can place two objects in the sand, like a rock and a pebble, and ask the children how they are different. The shapes are both round, but one is bigger than the other. You can then compare them to two other objects, such as a rock and an egg.
Montessori Reading Activities
On one side of a flashcard is a picture and on the other is the word that goes with that picture. It can be used to help children learn new words or to practice words they already know.
Age: 2 to 5
Developmental goal: To increase vocabulary, read with fluency and improve listening skills.
- A box of flashcards with pictures on one side and the written word on the other.
The best way to make sure children remember what they’ve learned is to review it again and again. This can be done by putting the cards on display or a tray next to the child.
Another way is to have your child pick one card at a time and read it to you. Then you ask questions if they don’t know the word.
A picture book is a book that has pictures and words. Picture books are usually made up of short sentences and simple vocabulary.
Age: 2-5 years
Developmental goal: To improve reading skills, to learn about the world around them
- A selection of picture books with a variety of subjects & words (this will depend on your child’s age)
Activities: reading, looking at pictures, discussing the story
How to use it:
Hold the book in front of the child, pointing to the pictures as you name them. Encourage your child to repeat the names of the objects in the image. Talk about what happens in each photo. Ask questions like “Where does this happen?” or “When does this happen?”
Encourage your child to be independent and start looking at the pictures on their own. As your child improves, discuss with them the images in a sentence.
Montessori Parts of Speech Activity
BUILD SENTENCES WITH LEGO BRICKS
LEGO bricks are a great way to introduce your children to sentence building. They can be used in a variety of ways, from constructing simple sentences to designing complex buildings.
Age: 4 (youngest)
Developmental goal: To practice reading sentences and building sentences
- LEGO bricks with letters, words, numbers, and other forms of punctuation
- Pencils and paper (optional)
Activity: Children will take the Lego pieces out of the box and build sentences with them.
First, lay out the words you want to use in a row. Depending on your child’s age and ability, you can use as many or as few as you want. Make sure you have enough words to make at least a few sentences. Then, simply have your child build the sentences in any way they want!
Children are encouraged to create using their hands and minds in a Montessori classroom. This lets them learn through their hands and minds, which is a great way to become independent learners.
Are you one of those people who thinks there is no way your child could learn without you around? Or maybe you think it is too hard to do on your own. It’s not.
We at Montessori Academy believe that the more independent you can make your child, the better they will become. Our Montessori classes are designed to make your child independent learners by learning through their hands and minds and giving them the freedom to create whatever they want.
We do this by letting children explore new subjects and learn independently and at their own pace. We believe in allowing children to experience life rather than following a set curriculum.
Contact us today for further information about what a Montessori program can do for your child! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.