Montessori Toddlers
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Sample Lessons

Phonetic Sounds Reference Sheet
This sheet contains examples of simple words that can be used in presentations of phonetic sounds. Present the initial letters as they sound in the words shown: for example, “a as in apple,” “b as in bat,” and so on...

a apple o octopus
b bat p pig
c cat q* queen
d dog r rat
e elf s snake
f frog t teacher
g gum u umbrella
h hat v violin
i igloo w watch
j jet x** x-ray
k kite y yellow
l lemon z zipper
m mom *for q, make the sound “kw.”
n nut **for x, make the sound “cks.”

Source: Language Arts for Preschoolers, by Dale Gausman, North American Progressive Montessori Teacher Training Program, 1998. Used with permission.


Language Activities: Introduction

General Points to Remember about Presenting Language Activities
  • Make sure to present similar phonetic sounds with an interval of several days in between each. For example, if you present words starting with the “d ” sound one day, do not present words starting with the “b ” sound the next, because they sound so alike. That is, let the child practice and learn to identify the “d ” sound before you introduce “b.” (See phonetics sounds reference sheet above.)

  • Take advantage of sounds the child makes naturally at her/his level of development. For example, from three to six months old, most children can make vowel sounds (a, e, i, o, u). From six to ten months, most children add more vowel sounds and begin to repeat sounds (for example,“da-da-da-da,” “ma-ma,”
    “ba-ba ”), especially if encouraged to repeat these sounds. At six to ten months, most children also make their first consonant sounds. Around the world, these are m, p, b, t, and d. For this reason, words starting with m, p, b, t, or d are especially good for first presentations of phonetic sounds.

  • To help the child focus, speak slowly, clearly and quietly.

  • Remember that language is not only talking. Touch, facial expressions and singing are also important ways of communicating with infants and young children.
Summary of Language Activities for Infants
The following language activities give the infant opportunities to
  • name and identify objects, pictures, parts of the face and parts of the body
  • develop skills needed for matching activities
  • interact with others
  • develop listening skills
  • produce appropriate sounds
  • identify objects from their description
  • learn to handle books carefully
  • become aware of numbers.

Language Activity 8: Providing Specific Objects When Requested

Primary Goal
Developing recognition skills.

Secondary Goals
Laying the foundation for putting-away activities; developing cognitive and motor abilities.

Material
Work tray.
Basket.
Three feeding objects: cup, spoon, bowl.
This activity helps accustom the infant to using a tray to sort and carry dishes and utensils. For this reason, no work mat is used.

Presentation
  • This activity appeals particularly to the interests and abilities of infants 9–12 months old.

  • In advance, place the objects and the basket in a row on the work tray.

  • Sit facing the infant with the work tray between you.

  • Make sure you have the infant’s attention.
  • Pick up the basket. Examine it, turning it this way and that, then name it. For example, say: “This is a basket for holding things.”

  • Place the basket beside the work tray.

  • Take the first object off the work tray.

  • Hold the object up in front of the infant, and name it. Speak clearly and slowly, and use simple language. For example, say: “Cup.” Turn the object this way and that and describe it briefly. For example, say: “I use this cup when I want a drink. See the handle?”

  • Offer the object to the infant.

  • Allow the infant ample time to examine the object, then ask the infant to drop the object into the basket. (Most infants enjoy being asked to drop things.) Make sure to thank the infant.

  • Repeat for the other two objects.

  • Take the objects out of the basket and place them on the tray again. Pause and smile at the infant.

  • Ask the infant to pick up a specific object from the tray and drop it into the basket. For example, say: “Please find the spoon and drop it into the basket.”

  • If the infant gives you the correct object — for example, the spoon — smile and say: “Yes, spoon.” If the infant gives you an object you did not request, do not correct, but simply say, for example: “Thank you for this cup. See the handle? Now can you find the spoon and drop it into the basket?”

  • Repeat for as long as the infant is interested.

  • When the infant has finished the activity, place the materials back on the tray, then take the infant with you while you return the materials to their proper places. This completes the activity.

  • Make sure that the materials presented stay available – on a very low shelf, for example – for the infant to access when she/he wishes.
Extension 1
  • Replace the objects in the tray with other familiar objects that the infant sees and uses every day. Examples: bib, napkin ring, fork.
Extension 2
  • As the infant acquires experience and skill in correctly identifying objects and placing them in the basket, increase the number and complexity of the objects. At first, choose objects that can be named in words of one or two syllables, and start with the following letters: m, p, b, t, d. These are the sounds that most infants make naturally. Examples: beads, ball, baby, block, bed, bug, blanket, basket, bowl, dish, duck, doll, mat, mitten, pin, pen, pot, puppet, tub, teddy, top. Then progress to more complex words.



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