12 Months of Montessori Learning ~ March: Language Arts

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I have had a few people ask me how they could use the Montessori method to introduce their children to language arts and how to teach grammar using this method. Since we follow a rather eclectic homeschooling style and not solely Montessori, I had to do a bit of research.

Montessori Curriculum Explained: Language Arts Materials, Activities and Philosophy

Language is the central point of difference between the human species and all others. Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization…Language is an instrument of collective thought…Hence, language is truly the expression of a kind of super intelligence. ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.

Montessori believed that language is innate and it is in the nature of humans to express themselves both orally and through the written word. The Montessori Language Arts curriculum, therefore, starts the moment the child first enters the environment. Enjoy this in depth look as we explain Montessori Language Arts curriculum materials, activities, and philosophy.

Montessori Language: Ages 0-3

Montessori believed that the sensitive period for language begins at birth and continues to about six years of age. From birth, the child has been absorbing the sounds and speech patterns of family and home environment. Long before being able to speak, the child listened intently while acquiring the sounds of her native language. Babies learn to recognize and repeat the individual sounds of their language and toddlers learn to recognize, name, and pronounce the names of objects in their environment. In the Montessori Infant/Toddler environment, daily exposure to language through conversations and the reading of good literature helps the child strengthen her vocabulary and increases independence as she becomes more cognizant of the world around her, giving her the ability to name her wishes and desires.

Montessori Language: Ages 3-6

The Montessori 3-6 classroom is a natural extension of the patterns of communication that have already been absorbed. Through every conversation, every book read aloud, every new word that is taught, the Montessori student is learning language, and thus, learning to read. In the Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten environment, emphasis is placed on the process of acquiring language. Knowledge is constructed by mental and physical activity rather than on passive learning. Writing is taught before reading through the direct and indirect aims of the Montessori Practical Life and Sensorial works. In the Montessori 3-6 Language curriculum, writing itself is seen as a direct preparation for reading.

Montessori parents and educators use precise language that is neither too simplified or given to baby-talk in order to give credence to the work the child is doing to acquire vocabulary and language skills. As Montessori educators, we help the child to focus her attention to the sound of her own speech, making fine distinctions between sounds. From our attention in oral language development emerges the child’s need to write. Written symbols are introduced and from there, the child bursts spontaneously into reading.

Montessori Language: Ages 6-12

From infancy, children have learned the names of things. In the lower elementary Montessori classroom, students begin to analyze more abstract concepts of language: the how, the why, and the from where? Montessori elementary students explore the history of language, written language, spoken language, literature and grammar, and syntax.

The Montessori Fourth Great Lesson is the story of how writing began. This impressionistic story grabs the attention of young students who are eager to learn about those who came before us. From there, they listen to and read great literature and are further motivated to tell their own stories through creative writing, reports, drama, poetry, and song.

Throughout this work, Montessori students are introduced to the rules of human communication through word studies, work with the Montessori Grammar Boxes, as well as beginning logical sentence analysis. The goal in the Montessori elementary Language curriculum is not to teach grammar but to give a concrete representation and foster a love of the function of words.

Dr. Montessori described the role of language in traditional education as forcing children speak and write when they have nothing to say. She said instead, that “The child must create his interior life before he can express anything; he must take spontaneously from the external world constructive material in order to ‘compose’; he must exercise his intelligence fully before he can be ready to find the logical connection between things. We ought to offer the child that which is necessary for his internal life and leave him free to produce.” (Spontaneous Activity in Education). By unlimited exposure in the Montessori environment, we free the child’s creative and imaginative process, giving her the means to write and tell her own story. – (North American Montessori Center – Montessori Teacher Training )


Here are some ideas, all found online (links have been provided) that follow the Montessori Method for teaching Language Arts.

Compound Word Matching (Montessori Album)
In this activity the child matches pair of cards with the beginnings and ends of compound words.

St. Patrick’s Day Phonological Awareness (Trillium Montessori)
This set is ideal for a PreK-K Montessori class but can be adapted for most early childhood and K-2 classrooms. It will also be useful for RTI, SLP and Special Ed teachers.

Included are printable cards for the following Phonological Awareness activities with a St. Patrick’s Day theme:
Activity 1: Word Awareness Poem and Sequencing Cards
Activity 2: Rhyming Riddles
Activity 3: Beginning Sounds Build-a-Shamrock
Activity 4: Ending Sounds I-Spy Bingo
Activity 5: Middle Sounds Vowel Sorting
Activity 6: Phoneme Segmenting and Blending
Activity 7: Phoneme Substitution

Teach Your Child to Read (Montessori Early Reading) (Natural Beach Living)
Teaching your child to read is probably one thing that every homeschooling parent worries about. Not only homeschoolers, but probably every parent in general. Of course as parents we want our children to be great readers, to love books and to love learning. I think parents these days are much more active in researching and in trying to learn the best ways possible for our children to be successful in life. By successful I am saying we all want our children to be happy, to feel good about themselves, and to thrive in this world. I hope being here with me today makes it easier on you and gives you the tools that will get your child reading and having a love for books.

Building Words with the Movable Alphabet (Totschool)
The Movable Alphabet is a set of letters that allow children to build words before they have started either writing or reading. It is a very classic and well-known piece of Montessori work.

Simple DIY Building Words Center (Apples and ABC’s)
I made sure that the letters to choose from, were letters that could build a real word in the “at” family. For differentiation, you could challenge them and have all sorts of letters to choose from, that wouldn’t necessarily make a real word.

Cookie Sheet Activities Pre K- K Bundle- Early Literacy and Numeracy Activities (Make, Take, Teach)
There are 6 volumes of cookie sheet activities each volume targeting a specific skill. Just to keep it simple, I combined the volumes into two grade level bundles- one bundle for my Pre K- K friends and another for my first grade friends. Volumes 1, 2 and 4 comprise the Make, Take & Teach Pre K- K Bundle.

The Cookie Sheet Challenge! (Make, Take, Teach)
ABC Order. In this activity, the students are given magnetic letters and they simply put the letters in order. For students who will have difficulty putting all the letters in order, differentiate the activity by placing several letters in strategic positions on the cookie sheet first.

Rhyming Ice Cream Cones (Make, Take, Teach)
These rhyming ice cream cones have certainly been a hit with our little preschoolers and kindergarteners! The activity is easily differentiated as you can choose how many rhyming cones and scoops to use. For those kiddos just learning the concept of rhyme, you’ll likely want to start with just 2 cones and gradually add more cones as they become proficient with the skill. For those students who just need added practice, you can use more cones and just place them in an independent work center. When you download this activity, you’ll receive 18 rhyming cones with 60 rhyming scoops!

10 CVC word activities (Study at Home Mama)
I have 10 great ideas for playing with and sounding out CVC words with your Montessori preschooler, and I love incorporating different materials and approaches to keep up the enthusiasm with a new challenge, but feel free to just choose your favourite activity and stick with that. The most important thing in learning anything via the Montessori Method is allowing and encouraging repetition — so if you’re going to exclusively do the play dough idea at the bottom the list, make sure that play dough and alphabet stamps are constantly available for your child to revisit that work.

DIY Montessori Sound Object Box (The Kavanaugh Report)
A sound object box was perfect since it combined small objects {another favorite for Henry} and letter sounds.

Matching Sandpaper Letters to Moveable Alphabet (The Learning Ark – Elementary Montessori)
Once your child has learnt about 85% of the letters in the alphabet, they’re ready to move on. You continue the three period lesson with sandpaper
letters, but you also start using the moveable alphabet.

Sorting Baskets Phonics Activity (The Imagination Tree)
Set up a fun phonics activity for preschoolers and school aged children with this sorting objects into baskets game! This takes no preparation at all and can be played in different ways to suit the age or stage of each child involved.

Rhyming Pairs Basket Literacy Game (The Imagination Tree)
Make a simple rhyming activity to help practise rhyming pairs and learn about literacy in a playful, hands-on way! This would be great for both home and the classroom as a go-to resource on the shelf.

Teaching Toddlers the Alphabet (This Reading Mama)
One of my literacy goals in the younger years (with toddlers and preschoolers) is to help them build a solid foundation of letters and letter sounds so they can build on that for later reading and spelling. You may think I’m crazy. Teaching toddlers the alphabet? Aren’t they too young? But teaching toddlers the alphabet does not necessarily need to look like “teaching”. There’s no desk. No workbook or letter of the week formula. What you will find is lots of intentional play and literacy integration/immersion throughout the day through multiple and meaningful exposure.

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt with Beginning Sounds (This Reading Mama)
This school year, we’ve explored the alphabet in many playful ways (mostly in our every day routine, but also with paint, with my Pre-K/K Packs, and various alphabet matching games, like our most recent LEGO matching.)

Alphabet Sensory Play (Pre-K Pages)
Research supports teaching the alphabet through fun, meaningful, hands-on activities. This activity combines sensory play with letter identification and visual discrimination.

Tulip Words – Reading Activity for Preschoolers (Little Family Fun)
This week we’re doing a “Spring” theme in our Preschool@Home, and this is our first activity!
I just made this and haven’t done it with LB(3) yet, but I know it will be fun for him, and a good way to review letter sounds and to begin teaching him how letters make words.

Play with Words: A Pretend Bakery Game (Education.com)
Tie on that apron. Break out the mixing bowls. If your child loves to play pretend, and needs practice with letters and the sounds they make, get cooking with this activity! Not only is it playful fun, but it builds key reading skills.

Montessori Pink Series Reading Work (Making Montessori Ours)
Our pink series three part cards are kept in simple folders. I used scrape book paper cut to size folder up the bottom and with a long arm stapler (LOVE this thing) secured the sections. I have a label on the outside.


The Montessori Alphabet Box has always intrigued me. I have been wanting to put one together for the kids, but just haven’t gotten to it. I really need to get off of my laurels and get it done! The kids would love this!

DIY Mini Montessori Alphabet Box (Stir the Wonder)
A DIY Mini Montessori Alphabet Box is an affordable way to create a hands-on learning tool to help your preschooler learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet. I’ve wanted to make one for some time now! This summer I finally started to gather my supplies and put it together just in time for the beginning of this school year. Now that we’ve had a chance to use it I’m so excited to finally share it with you all!

How to Use the Montessori Alphabet Box (Wildflower Ramblings)
Each letter has its own little box full of objects that begin with that sound. Today, I am happy to show you how to use all the little boxes full of tiny objects that help create phonemic awareness for little ones.




Recommended reading:
The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori
The Montessori Method by Montessori Maria
Teach Your Preschooler To Read & Write by John Bowman
Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain: A Complete Guide to Doing Montessori Early Learning at Home by John Bowman

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12 Months of Montessori Learning Posts:
January: Practical Life
February: Geography