We are introduced to a language the first time we develop the ability to use our ears and hear voices around us. It gets more emphatic as an adult makes an eye contact and utters words. While using language is an unnatural phenomenon, Dr. Montessori brilliantly unfolded its secrets as an open book for adults and children. A systematic approach to language comprehension can be easily applied to all spoken languages around the world. For English Language, it has been established thoroughly in our school.
Speech: Montessori guides / teachers become an instrument in language journey before the child develops ability to speak for her/himself. Montessori approach suggests of well thought out phrases and strategies to facilitate in child’s language growth. In a Montessori classroom a child is assisted in building vocabulary independent of the response capability. For example, instead of asking names of tropical fish in a question, ‘What is this, Joey?’ Montessori guide takes the speaking demand out and phrases the question as, “Can you show me the Moorish Idol Joey?” Joey might know what Moorish Idol is but might not have developed the speech yet. This memory and vocabulary development does not go unrecognized in a Montessori classroom. This and many other brilliant strategies not just build child’s confidence but also takes the mystery out of the language learning, giving child peace of mind that ‘I know’, ‘I am understood’ and ‘I can communicate’.
Reading Readiness: Several exercises are carefully developed together to give child as much opportunity to build the vocabulary bank as possible. Types of mammals, fish, geometric shapes, numbers, farm animals, daily use items and everything around the child is made available to practice and build the treasure of vocabulary. Songs and games, with Sign language collaborated, make communication strong and foundation stronger.
Language Introduction: Once child shows interest in exploring symbols of language (alphabets), introduction to phonetics begins. The English language is developed carefully from phonetics to phonograms to grammar symbols to very wide coverage of art of language.
Comprehension and Language Art: Between the ages of 2-4, children build their vocabulary and learn to recognize phonetic sounds (of alphabets). Usually between the ages of 3-5, child is able to recognize, recall, and build 3-4 letter words. Between 4-6 years of age child can read and recognized phonograms. Child is able to read sentences composed of three to four letter phonetics and phonograms. Between the ages of 5-7, children learn the parts of speech and sentence structure. Compound words, prefixes, and suffixes are introduced systematically during these early years of life.
Penmanship: Penmanship is incorporated and carefully guided process that child experiences in our Montessori classroom. Children understand the patterns of manuscript and cursive writing. Printing words that they can read in the classroom is a general practice. Many carefully crafted exercises and material are placed in classroom to practice and master the art of penmanship. By the time children are ready to understand the concept of writing pattern; their dexterity is polished and placed in position to promote the art of writing. When child starts to write, the concept of following emblematic patterns is clear and entertaining on a personal level.
Montessori children as a result have strong foundation of the Language. And comprehending complex books on science, history, or literature are not a challenge for these children.