Brainy Stars > Brainy Star Support > Knowledgebase

Search help:

Language FAQ


1. What is the right age to introduce language for  children?

As soon the child enters the house of children we can introduce language to the them because the sensitive period for language starts when the child enter the house of children.

2. How is language development encouraged  in the classroom of Montessori?

Language development is  encouraged in the classroom, because of the freedom of conversation allowed to the children. In the Montessori environment encouragement of self expression is fostered through communication between children and their peers and children and adults.

3. How does Montessori environment prepare the child Indirectly for writing ?

When a child arrives in the environment at 2 ½ to 3 years of age, they are not prepared mentally or physically to write. Order is brought to the mind with the Practical Life exercises and the Sensorial Materials. The children are able to begin classifying their environment and learning language as well as completing exercises which train the mind to move from left to right from the moment they arrive in the environment (tracing the Red Rods, washing a table, spooning, pouring, etc). Additionally, as often as possible in all areas of the classroom, including geography, the children are shown to manipulate the materials using the Pincer Grip (Puzzle Maps, Cylinder Blocks, Pouring Jugs, etc), which is the grip used to hold a pencil.
At this early stage, the muscles in the children’s hands are beginning to strengthen for the eventual step of writing correctly with a pencil. Lightness of touch is also a factor in writing correctly. If you press too hard, the pencil will break, if you press too softly, you have trouble seeing what is written. Exercises such as the Touch Tablets and Touch Boards, the Sandpaper letters and the Metal Insets directly teach the child the concepts of rough and smooth, phonetic sounds, and design respectively, but also all require a control of movement necessary for writing. None of the above would ever be told to the child. The child does each exercise for its direct purpose or lesson and unconsciously takes in all of the extra benefits.

4. Montessori teaches both alphabets with phonetic sounds and alphabets without phonetics?

The Montessori approach teaches both, but it teaches phonetics first. Why? Because 50% of our language is phonetic. It follows predictable rules...and children love rules. They are drawn to find the logic and order within our world. The human tendencies for order and precision are very strong in the young child and the phonetic half of English is complete in this respect. It is systematic and predictable. There are rules that, when followed, hold the key to cracking the code of English.

We begin by teaching the child these rules. We teach them the sounds of each letter and of key phonograms. We encourage them to build phonetic words, and later, when they are ready, to read phonetic words. This process slowly builds the child’s confidence. It lays out the patterns of English. It presents the rules the children love to follow and gives them opportunities to practice applying those rules, to practice hearing the sounds in words, saying the sounds of each letter, writing letters, using those letters to build words, and reading phonetic words. Then, once the child has confidence, once the child believes she/he can crack the code of English, we slowly reveal the non-phonetic half of English... the words which don’t follow any rules at all. Wow! Words that don’t follow any rules at all? That’s interesting! And learning follows interest.

5. Why listening and including the child in conversation important?

Listening and Including the Child in Conversation:
The attention we give to a child when he first begins to talk to us is significant. Often a child is so excited about talking and being able to express himself that he stutters. This is a very natural stage in the development of verbal language and a sign for the adult to stop, look, and listen, NOT to supply the missing word, or to comment on the stutter. When the child is sure that he will be listened to, he will usually calm down and learn to speak more clearly.
Language development begins before birth and continues to be a major part of the child's development for the first three years of life. We can best help a child develop good language by including the child in our conversation from the very beginning.

6.  Why is story telling, reading and writing important for development of language?

Storytelling, Reading and Writing  :Of course spoken language comes first, and the adult is the most important piece of language material in the environment. Children love for us to talk to them, and simple stories, (“What I had for breakfast” or “Once upon a time a little boy sat on his father’s lap while his father read to him. He was wearing red pajamas . . . ”) are more pleasing than something long and fantastic.
Most children will also sit enthralled for hours if we read to them, so this is our chance to pass on the love of literature and of reading, to teach facts, values, and the pronunciation of words, even those not often used in everyday speech.
The foundation for a child's love of reading begins with seeing others around him reading, and enjoying reading, even when they are not reading aloud to him. And even though many of us do our writing on the computer these days, it is important for the child to see us writing on paper with a pencil or pen, thank you notes, birthday cards, grocery lists, and so on. It is no accident that some children are good at reading and writing and others are not, that some find joy in this work and for others it is boring. The joy of exploring language begins early, and is the most intense, throughout the first three years of life

7. Why do we teach lower case letters first in Montessori?

Lower Case Letters, Since 99 per cent of what the child will be reading is written in lower case letters, you will be doing the child a great favor to begin with these ("a" and "b," not "A" and "B"), and by giving only the sounds instead of the names of the letters. Introducing capital letters too early can make the learning both reading and writing take much longer than necessary.

8. Why is Vocabulary enrichment section important in Montessori?

The Enrichment of Vocabulary section within the Language Area of the Montessori environment is for giving the child new words for objects in his world. From two years old and on until elementary, the child is continually absorbing new vocabulary at an amazing rate, “By the time a child is six, it’s been estimated that he understands some 13,000 words, although he doesn’t speak nearly that many” .

9. Why do we introduce movable alphabets and sand paper letters before writing?

In Montessori classrooms, there are two primary pedagogical materials used to teach children the sounds that each letter makes and how you can put those letters/sounds together to create words: the sandpaper letters and the movable alphabet. The sandpaper letters allow children to physically trace the shape of each letter while they say its sound, not it's name. The movable alphabet allows them to then put those symbols/sounds together to create words even before their hand can hold a pencil.

10. Why do we directly teach children the sounds and symbols of alphabets?

The sandpaper letters allow children to physically trace the shape of each letter while they say its sound, not it's name. Which will help the child to recognize the sound along with its shape. Once the children can associate sound with symbol, they need opportunities and inspiration to practice using that knowledge.
And further it will help the child in letter blending, with the help letter blending the child will learn to make words.

11. Why is it important for a child to become perfect with the phonetic sounds of alphabets before creating words?

Traditionally when we think of writing, we think of putting pen to paper. But there is more to it than this. Before one can have success with writing by way of the hand, one must be able to build words in the mind. This is the intellectual component of writing. It refers to the ability to put letters together to create a word. It can be done even if one has no muscular control of the hands. As such, this intellectual component of writing may develop even before the hand is able to hold a pencil with the help of various activities like phonetic analysis activities where the child will listen to the first sound of the word, then last sound of the word, the  next sound of the word.

12. In Montessori adults are not worried about the accuracy of spelling? Why?

The Montessori adult is not worried about  the accuracy of the spelling until around age 6. The point of early writing, of phonetically spelling words, is for the child to practice making words, to practice using the letters of  alphabet, to practice expressing thoughts with written words. The more the child works with letters, works at creating words, the easier it becomes. As she / he gains confidence with this process, she/he slowly begins to refine her / his skills. Spelling is something that the child will naturally refine as her/ his language abilities grow. It is not  focused at this stage of development.

13. How can we help the child prepare himself in reading and writing.

There are three main areas where we can help children prepare for reading and writing. When the ground is well prepared before writing and reading are attempted, acquiring these skills is very enjoyable.
1) Physical Skills—balance, using the hands, coordination of eye-hand work, learning to concentrate and focus on practical life activities, recognizing sizes and shapes, working with knobbed puzzles, crayons and pencils, and practice in speaking.
2) Mental Skills—absorbing and using language, learning the sounds that each letter makes (not the names of the letter) and playing games to break up words into sounds—the "I spy" game.
3) Social Skills—living in homes where people talk at the table, sit down and have conversations, and read, instead of watching television or "learning language" on a computer

14. Why do we give moveable alphabets instead of  pencil and paper for writing initially?

In a Montessori classroom, the children do not write initially with a pencil. They use the movable alphabet, which is a box containing all of the letters in the alphabet. Having already learned the phonetic sounds of some or all of the letters, the children proceed to ‘write’ phonetically forming first words, then sentences, using the individual letters in the box. Once a child has developed enough strength and control of hand movement through the Indirect Preparations provided throughout the environment, he/she can begin to write using chalk and chalkboard, then paper and pencil.
Indirect Preparations are found throughout the Montessori environment. “Indirect” simply means that the child is being prepared unconsciously. There are indirect preparations for language, mathematics, etc and preparations for one area of development can be found in all areas of the curriculum

15. Why are metal insets used in Montessori environment?

Metal Insets consist of Ten metal frames in red and ten corresponding metal insets in blue representing the following plane figures: circle, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, square, rectangle, triangle, oval, quatrefoil, pentagon, and trapezoid. These are designed to contribute to the development of the mechanical writing skills and are used simultaneously with the introduction of sandpaper letters. Children are taught various ways in which insets can be traced: tracing the frame only, tracing the inset only, making overlays, and designs. All exercises help to develop free wrist movement, develop control of a pencil, firmness and lightness of touch in preparation for writing, and develops appreciation of design.

16. How to develop writing skill of the children in Montessori?

Montessorians are very intentional about their environment and the opportunities it provides for children to develop their writing skills. The Everyday Living works provide opportunity for children to develop their hand/fine motor muscles.  When they are pouring, spooning, tonging, tweezing, scrubbing etc. they are learning to manage their hands and direct their hands in specific ways.  This skill is needed when controlling a crayon or pencil. Children are shown lessons from the Art area that also support their development.  When they use crayons/ colored pencils/markers they are practicing control and manipulation of those writing tools.  As they use them and design pictures, they are allowing their hands and mind to develop important writing skills.  Montessori said, 'a child who designs will write'.  
The metal insets are one of the wonderful materials available to children to develop their writing skills.  Children are shown many lessons on this work throughout the year, each one drawing on the skills of the previous lesson.  There are many shapes and insets with this work including circle, triangle square, oval, etc.

17. When to introduce upper case letters in Montessori?

Once the child is perfect in lower case alphabets you can introduce upper case letters.

18. When should we introduce writing?

Even once the child understands the sounds and symbols of his language, he will not progress towards language mastery unless he is internally motivated to do so. The child must have a desire to write. Until the child develops the desire we cannot force the child to write. But we can indirectly prepare the child for writing. In our school we start proper writing from the age of 4 years when the child is in Mont-2.

19. How should we introduce writing activity to the child?

When the written language is taught to the child, the directress will always start with something the child knows. She will begin with the use of symbols that each represent a sound, otherwise known as the alphabet. Then the child will learn the keys of the written language such as grammar and syntax. Using the newly learned sounds, the child will be able to quickly put sounds together in a correct order to form a word that has meaning to him. For example, the sounds "h - a - t" will no longer just be individual sounds. The child will put the sounds together to form the word "hat".

20. What are the importance of language activities?

The Language area of the Montessori classroom encourages development of early-literacy skills through the use of phonetic sounds. In the Language area children are exposed to various types of phonetic awareness activities to build a strong literary foundation. Montessori Language activities are designed to improve a child’s vocabulary, listening skills for common sounds, and differentiating between objects and pictures. Language activities include learning the shapes and sounds of letters, practicing fine motor skills by writing, vocabulary development, matching words and pictures, reading development with word lists, practicing parts of grammar (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.), creating sentences and reading silently.

21.  How to develop communication skills of the children in Montessori?

In the Montessori classroom, a child is introduced to language environment as well as language activities that will help with forming stronger communication skills. The child will be spoken too often and listened to so that a broad exposure of language is experienced. Articulation, enunciation and punctuation is stressed with different modes of communication including stories, conversation and interaction.

Social interaction is one way in which a child can learn to communicate. Each child feels free to communicate with others and this can help to further his vocabulary. A young child’s mind is absorbent to language and is able to understand sounds and words which can then be translated into writing skills. With others as an example, your child will be able to continue to expand his vocabulary as well as he will develop his communication skills.

22. Why does Montessori education emphasis on developing listening skills?

Listening is a very important skill that every child must learn. With organization and individual attention, each child learns how to be patient and listen to fellow classmates as well as adults during the class.  By teaching your child listening skills, the child is able to learn from the language and words used by other children and adults. Children will then build on what is learned to create a vast vocabulary all their own.

23. Does worksheets and workbook work in Montessori?

There are several reasons worksheets/workbooks do not work in the Montessori environment:

No logical control of error makes them adult-centered
Child does not create the work
No room for creativity
wrong answers require corrections
The nature of a worksheet, matching/fill-in-the-blank/unscrambling does not lead to real thinking skills

24. How does the prepared environment help the child to develop himself in language ?

The teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the sensitive periods for language learning is essential to the function of the prepared environment.  She will understand that a child experiences a sensitive period for writing around the ages of 3.5 to 4.5.  Through her preparation, she would therefore know to introduce the Metal Insets and the Moveable Alphabet at this critical time in order to promote language development.  Additionally, the teacher can facilitate a child’s interest in reading through the introduction of specific reading lessons.  She has an understanding of the child’ sensitive period for words, their symbols, and consequent meanings.
The teacher herself inculcates the beauty of language through her interactions among children, the Montessori Language materials further enhance language acquisition

25.  How important the nursery rhymes are for a child?
1. Nursery rhymes are a great way into learning early phonic skills (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate letter sounds).
2. Nursery rhymes give children practice in pitch, volume as well as in language rhythm.
3. Nursery rhymes expand your child’s imagination.
4. Nursery rhymes follow a clear sequence of events.
5. Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, so they become some of a child’s first sentences
6. Nursery rhymes improve a child’s vocabulary.
7. Nursery rhymes are fun!

26. Why do we use sand paper letter?

Maria Montessori recognized that children as young as two had an interest in written letters. The "sandpaper letters" (letters cut out of sandpaper that can be traced) were developed to take advantage of this sensitive period.

27.  How can we develop child’s spoken language and written language

The main influence on the development of a child's spoken and written language is the family, friends and school. If the adult speaks clearly and precisely to the child, and in a normal tone of voice that one would use with a peer, the child will do the same. If the child is exposed to more than one language in the home or school it is very important that he be able to associate one language with one person, and the second language with a different person. So, for example, the first adult should speak only English to the child, and the second adult should speak only Spanish to him. This will help the child sort out the difference and become fluent in both.
Reading aloud to a child gives the message that reading is fun, introduces vocabulary that would not usually come up in spoken language, and demonstrates beauty and variety of expression. Reading and writing are not “taught,” in the traditional way one thinks of in learning literacy, to a child before age six or seven. Rather, the environment is prepared with sensorial experiences that will enable the child to teach himself. This was one of the most amazing discoveries of Dr. Montessori in that very first school.
For success in language a child needs to feel that what he has to say is important; he needs to have a desire to relate to others; he needs to have had real experience on which language is based; and he of course needs the physical abilities necessary for reading and writing.

28. What is the importance of precise Language in the prepared environment?

Montessori cautioned parents and caretakers of infants and toddlers to refrain from using baby talk as it inhibits language development. Dr. Montessori emphasized speaking slowly and clearly with correct pronunciation and accent so that children develop proper language patterns.

In the Montessori environment, adults continue with modelling correct and precise language. Activities are often presented with few words so as to draw attention and give importance to the words that are spoken. Using too many words in an explanation tends to drown out the intent of the message. In the Montessori environment, speech is slow and deliberate, giving the child every opportunity to understand the exact meaning.

Precision of language can best be seen by the early lessons of Grace and Courtesy in the Montessori environment. Montessori teachers use precise, positive language to direct and redirect student behaviour.

29.  Why is precise language used?

Through precise language, children learn to develop control over their own words. Precise language holds their interest; there is value in the words they hear. There is little chance to misunderstand because thoughts and expectations are clearly stated.

30.  Give some examples of precise language used in Montessori class room?

Here are some examples of how precise language is used in the Montessori environment. Note how clearly the meaning is imparted by the specific word choice.
Please walk.
Please walk around the mat.
Please go back and walk around the mat
Please go back to the snack table and walk.
Please push in your chair.
Please carry materials with two hands.
Please keep all your materials on the mat.
Please return your materials to the shelf.

Was this article helpful? yes / no
Article details
Article ID: 1
Category: Knowledgebase
Date added: 5-May-2016 18:03:52
Views: 235
Rating (Votes): Article rated 5.0/5.0 (3)

« Go back

Powered by Help Desk Software HESK, brought to you by SysAid