If you’re looking for Montessori language activities and materials to use in your classroom, as part of your homeschooling curriculum, and/or to support your child at home, you’ve come to the right place!
While I’m by no means an expert on the Montessori method of teaching, I’m certainly an advocate and believer in child-directed learning after spending a portion of my upper elementary years in the Montessori system, and seeing such incredible gains in my own daughter after moving her to a Montessori school 2 years ago. She is currently in her second year of lower elementary and the changes we’ve seen in her have been nothing short of amazing. Not only has her confidence and independence grown exponentially, but her ability to learn at her own speed has done wonders in maintaining her interest in and excitement about school. Whether she’s working ahead on the material she finds easy, or working one-on-one with her teacher on the items she finds more challenging, she’s learning amazing things at her own pace, and I couldn’t be prouder.
I love hearing all of the different lessons my daughter completes each day, but since I wasn’t part of the lower elementary program as a child, a lot of the terminology she uses – moving alphabet, metal insets, etc. – are totally lost on me, so I decided to take some time to dig deeper and learn what the Montessori language curriculum is all about so I can find fun and creative ways to support my sweet girl at home.
What Is Montessori?
Before I share my favorite Montessori language materials and activities, I wanted to take a moment to explain what the Montessori system is all about as I know not everyone is familiar with this method of teaching.
Again, I’m not an expert on this subject, but what I’ve learned from my research and from what I’ve observed at my daughter’s school, the Montessori system is an alternative and individualized approach to education. While the teachers (or guides, as they are often called) introduce lessons to the students, the Montessori system is child-directed in that the children decide which materials they wish to work on each day. This is obviously done within limits, and by observing each child closely, teachers are able to provide one-on-one lessons based on the child’s academic abilities and interests.
Unlike traditional classrooms where children can experience up to 12 transitions in one day (!!!!), the Montessori approach to learning allows for long, uninterrupted work periods – one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. This allows children to dig deep into their lessons, rather than just engaging with them for a short time.
The Montessori education system nurtures a child’s mind, body, and spirit, and focuses on teaching practical life skills as well as teaching through the child’s senses (touch, taste, sound, etc.).
An Introduction to the Montessori Language Curriculum
As with all concepts taught under the Montessori approach, the Montessori language curriculum is progressive. The aim of the teacher isn’t to teach, per se, but to isolate the elements that make up language and provide concrete examples of each in such a way that instils a love for the written word.
Once each new language concept is taught to a student, he or she must apply the concept to his or her world through storytelling, speech, written words, etc.
The Montessori curriculum is typically taught in the following order:
Function of words
9 Montessori Language Materials to Invest In
Another thing I love about the Montessori system is that it utilizes brilliant learning materials you wouldn’t find in a typical classroom. Each of these are designed to develop certain skills over time, and with a little imagination and creativity, you can create all sorts of fun activities to keep little learners excited and engaged.
If you’re looking for basic Montessori language materials to invest in, here are 9 items I highly recommend:
Designed to guide the hand for writing, this set includes both upper and lowercase letters as well as 2 wooden storage boxes. This is a great introductory Montessori language material for casa students.
If you’re just getting started with the Montessori language curriculum, a moveable alphabet set is definitely a worthwhile investment. This one comes with 80 plastic lowercase letters – 12 of each vowel in red, and 6-9 of each consonant in blue – as well as a storage case with letter stickers for proper labeling and organization. What I love most about this set is that it’s magnetic. While some teachers may prefer a wooden moveable alphabet set that can be spread out over the floor in a classroom setting, a magnetic option is great for those who homeschool and/or who want on-the-go language instruction options.
Designed to help with pencil control while also developing the muscles in the hands needed for handwriting, insets are a fabulous Montessori language material used to prepare children for writing.
Montessori Phonetic Reading Blocks
Perfect for beginner readers, these blocks can be twisted and turned into 80 phonetic rhyming words. Consonants are printed in red, and vowels are printed in blue, and these blocks are the perfect size for little hands.
Montessori Language Miniatures
If you’re looking for a starter Montessori language set, this is a great one to invest in. With 53 miniatures included, this inexpensive set includes 2 or more objects per letter, offering a fun way to teach kids about their letter sounds.
Montessori Grammar Symbols
One of the things I love most about the Montessori language curriculum is the effective way it teaches parts of speech to children. This grammar symbols set is a great tool to invest in as you can use it to work with your children and/or students on various grammar activities in casa and lower elementary, and if you keep reading this post, we share some Montessori grammar activities below!
Language Level Bundles
There are 3 series of lessons within the beginner Montessori language curriculum – pink, blue, and green – that progressively introduce and teach the core concepts of language, and develop upon them over time.
The PINK series is aimed at introducing initial sounds and word building through sandpaper letters. This is a time in which children are also introduced to the moveable alphabet and begin to learn about short vowel word building, how to write 3-letter words, and start practicing sight words. Teachers Pay Teachers has a great pink language series bundle, which you can purchase HERE.
The BLUE series is aimed at teaching digraphs – the combination of 2 letters representing one sound, like BL, SH, PH, and FL. Students use digraph word building, object boxes, command cards, compound words, and sentence strips in their lessons. CLICK HERE for a great and inexpensive blue series bundle available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers.
The GREEN series focuses on phonograms – a single letter or a combination of letters that come together to form a sound. Examples of phonograms include:
UR – sounds like /ER/ as in HURT
WR – sounds like /R/ as in WRONG
CK – sounds like /K/ as in CLOCK
Phonograms are taught using a combination of phonogram word labels, objects, pictures, sight words, and sentence strips. CLICK HERE for an excellent green series bundle from Teachers Pay Teachers that you can purchase, print, and download.
Additional Montessori Materials to Consider
Before we dive into my favorite Montessori language activities, I wanted to share a few additional Montessori essentials that will help you present the material to your child/students in the best possible way while also helping you stay organized and ensuring you can enjoy each activity over and over again.
Mini storage containers
Montessori green board
12 Montessori Language Activities Kids Love
Montessori Sight Word Cards | Teachers Pay Teachers
This is a collection of 100 sight words to support all 3 language series. Each card has a colored border so you know which series it corresponds to, with 20 pink series CVC sight words, 30 blue series blend sight words, and 50 green series phonogram sight words.
Montessori I-Spy Game | The Kavanaugh Report
This is a great Montessori language activity you can easily recreate in the classroom or at home using Montessori miniatures and sandpaper letters.
Sorting Game Using Alphabet Sound Cards | The Pinay Homeschooler
This is a great way to work with kids on their letter sounds! All you need is a moveable alphabet and a set of alphabet sorting cards, and there are so many other activities you can create with these materials, as outlined over on The Pinay Homeschooler.
Montessori Phonics Initial Sound Cards | Teachers Pay Teachers
This is a great set of beginner phonics cards to support your Montessori language curriculum!
Pink Series Word Building Activity and Reading Work | Making Montessori Ours
It’s amazing what you can do with a moveable alphabet, a Montessori green board, and printable image cards, and I love that you can use the concept behind this activity to continue supporting your child as he or she moves to the blue and green language series.
Outdoor Montessori Language Activities | Carrots Are Orange
If you’re looking for ways to take your lessons outside, this collection of ideas will certainly inspire you! I particularly like the Parts of Speech hunt and think the idea of taking kids outside to hunt for nature-themed language miniatures is brilliant!
Beginning Digraphs Sort | Teachers Pay Teachers
This set teaches children beginning digraphs – SH, CH, TH, PH, SH, CH, TH, PH, and WH – through colored mats and picture cards. It’s simple but effective!
Picture-Word Match: Beginning & Ending Digraphs | Teachers Pay Teachers
This is another great language lesson for kids who are just starting to learn about digraphs!
Phonogram Sorting | Trillium Montessori
If you’ve never heard of the website Trillium Montessori, I highly recommend it as it contains all kinds of Montessori ideas and resources, including this free printable phonogram sorting activity. I recommend investing in a laminator (we’ve had our Fellowes M5-95 for ~2 years and love it) so you can print and reuse these kinds of materials over and over again.
Phonogram Practice Cards | Teachers Pay Teachers
With 70 cards in this pack, this is a great way to teach kids about phonograms. Simply print, laminate, cut, and follow the directions provided!
Pink, Blue, Green Montessori Reading Bingo | Teachers Pay Teachers
This is such a fun way to support a child’s reading and fluency, and I love that this set includes options for all 3 levels of learning.
Grammar Sentence Strips | Teachers Pay Teachers
Grab your set of grammar symbols and give this Montessori language activity a try with your students and/or kids! With 171 sentence strips for the article, adjective, verb, conjunction, preposition, adverb, pronoun, and interjection, this is a fabulous set to encourage independent grammar work.
I hope this collection of Montessori language materials and activities inspires you to instil a love for the written word in your students and/or children!
The development of language is part of the development of the personality, for words are the natural means of expressing thoughts and establishing understanding between people.
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