We offer spoken language lessons to help children become confident in their ability to communicate with others. Daily conversation is an integral part of helping the children realize they do have ideas to share. We engage children in dialog about their clothing or weekend activities. We elicit their opinions regarding what we should have for snack or what they admire most about a picture on the well. We use rich vocabulary as we share cultural stories about famous composers and offer precise language to describe the flowers in the garden. Our goal is first to help the children become aware of the wonderful language they already possess and then introduce them to new aspects of the spoken word that help them fully understand the language around them.
Conversations ages 2 ½ and up
Directions: Invite your child to join you for a conversation. Sit across from each other in chairs or on the floor with nothing in between the two of you. Ask your child one of the following questions based on what you feel will elicit the most information.
- What is your favorite toy?
- What do you like to play when you are outside?
- What is your favorite snack?
- If you could cook breakfast/lunch/dinner for the entire family, what would you make for us?
- If you could buy your sibling one toy at the store, what would you choose?
As you have your conversation:
- Model active listing and ask questions that are relevant to the information your child is sharing. Explore questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Encourage the child to ask you the same question. Offer your child information with lots of description and exciting information, modeling how to tell a clear, concise, interesting story
- Let your child know you would like to have a conversation later on as well.
Story Telling ages 2 ½ and up
Directions: Invite your child to tell you a story about something fun that happened most recently. Ask open-ended questions to help your child add details to the story. Offer to write the story down for your child in beautiful cursive handwriting. Allow your child to illustrate the story using crayons or colored pencils.
Everything Has a Name ages 2 ½ and up
Idea: Children are eager to learn the names of everything and soak up new vocabulary like a sponge. Take time each day to offer your child the precise names of objects in and around your home. If they ask for “that red thing,” provide the appropriate name of “the red afghan.” While you may begin identifying an item as “houseplant,” over time, further classify it as a “philodendron.” Rather than say, “please eat your dinner,” ask, “are you enjoying your Tandoori Paneer Tikka?” By offering precise language, you help enrich your child’s vocabulary and help them to become more confident in clearly expressing their thoughts.
Classified Cards ages 2 ½ and up
We introduce children to classified cards as a way to build their vocabulary and help them learn more about the world around them. The cards are classified in that they are a collection of pictures dealing with a similar theme. At school, we offer two types of classified cards:
- Social Environment: These cards depict items from the home, town, or city, and can include modes of transportation, types of homes, tools, and pictures from the child’s daily life.
- Cultural and Scientific: These cards offer pictures of animals, land and water forms, flowers, plants, leaves, artists, composers, poets, and more.
Directions: Print and cut out the classified cards for your child. Some sets includes a key card that gives your child a clue as to what the classification is. For example, a set of Fruit classified cards may have a basket of fruit on the key card. As you introduce the photos, see if your child can identify items on the key card as a way to know what the set will convey. If possible, relate the cards to a real object in your home. Then, invite the child to explore the cards one at a time. Have a conversation about the card, and give the language or definition of what is depicted if needed. Separate the unfamiliar words and use them for a three-period lesson if needed.
Classified Card Examples
Classified Cards with labels:
Montessori Memory Game ages 3 and up
Directions: Print out the memory cards depicting items you may find in a Montessori classroom. Mix up the cards. Lay them face down in rows. Turn over any two cards. Name them. If the two pictures match, you can collect them. If they do not match, turn them back over in the same spot. Pay attention to where the pictures are placed so that you can remember where to find them again later. Take turns looking for matches with the other players. The game is over when all the cards have been matched. This game can be played with up to 4 players.
Spoken Language through Cultural Stories
We use spoken language to help children to gain an appreciation for music, art, customs, and the natural world they participate in daily. We share cultural stories about the artwork displayed on the walls, the photographs in the continent folders, and the decorations on the shelf. We share information about geography, nature, animals, artists, and their artwork, the songs we sing, or even the fruit in the snack bowls. These stories are usually short yet share fun facts and offer new vocabulary. Take a moment to learn more about how you can offer Art Cultural Stories and Music Cultural Stories to your child at home.
Spoken language lessons are also used to help children build phonemic and phonological awareness.
- We play sounds games to help the children become aware of the sounds in words. They identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds of words, and ultimately can identify all of the sounds in the words they use each day.
- We offer three period lessons to help children learn the cursive symbols and their associated sounds using the sandpaper letters. This association is an important step towards writing and reading. Here are the materials needed to offer these lessons at home.
*Note: The Cursive Letters for Home set does not include the letter “q.” We only introduce the “q” in the context of the phonogram /qu/. The letter is, however, included in the Pink and Blue Moveable Alphabet found in the writing section.