Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills to learn. Communication is fundamental to children’s development. It is the foundation of relationships and is essential for learning, playing and social interaction.
In the Montessori curriculum, language development is supported by a number of activities that stimulate communication skills and vocabulary development.
According to Montessori philosophy, the literacy process should be based on the following skills:
- Physical skills: Small children get started with learning sounds and letters through eye-hand work and concentration when touching and recognizing materials of various shapes and sizes.
- Mental skills: Children make progress in language development, as they get acquainted with sounds that each letter has and divide words into sounds.
- Social skills: Children will naturally learn language when they are included in conversations with family members and peers. Modeling correct language practice is especially useful.
So what can you do at home to help your child work on their vocabulary and improve communications skills? Here are a few Montessori activities that you can engage your child in outside of classroom:
For Toddlers: I Spy Game. Toddlers love to play and guess. It’s a good idea to use objects that your child is already familiar with. Place the object in front of your child and say: “I spy with my little eye something that begins with _”. Allow him/her the time to guess and name the object. Prompt them if necessary and say the whole word. “I spy with my little eye something that starts with buh (pause) buh – nana.” Ensure you clearly articulate your sounds.
For Primary Children: Montessori Alphabet. Montessori Movable Alphabet provides children with outstanding sensorial experiences. Children can hold letters in their hands, feel their shape and manipulate them while constructing words. At home, you can provide your child with magnet letters that can be displayed on your refrigerator door, allowing them to simply start practicing the sounds of each letter. You may even want to help your child to make small words.
For Elementary Children: Journal/ Drawing Books. A special place for self-expression reinforces the importance of a child’s thoughts and feelings. Just provide your child with a composition book, in which they can write and illustrate the pages. Encourage your child to use this journal at least once a week. You can propose a topic to write about or you can just let your child express themselves creatively.