Saturday, April 28, 2012

Montessori A to Z: L is for Language

Language is one of my favorite areas of the classroom. I learned how to read when I was 2, so that aspect of language has always been a big part of my life. I love to teach children how to learn their sounds and get just as excited as they do when they finally put the words together and read. I have books all over the classroom, in every area. I take my children to the school library about once a week, so that they can choose their own books to bring back to the classroom. I have developed a class of readers and I hope that love of books stays with them for their entire lives.

Language enters into other parts of teaching in Montessori, though, beyond reading. Language is important in how you speak to the children. Model proper usage of words and proper grammar. Use proper names for everything in the classroom. Children are in their sensitive period for language and will quickly pick up vocabulary and speaking patterns. I love when I hear my big words coming back out of children's mouths and being used appropriately. It is not necessary to talk down to children. Yes, you need to make sure they understand you, but you don't need to resort to baby talk.

My other favorite part of language is foreign language. When I was in Montessori preschool and kindergarten, we learned both French and Spanish. In first grade, you had to choose one, so I chose French. I studied it all the way through high school and into college. When I got to college, I also started taking Spanish again. I knew I would be using it more frequently in the real world than I would my French. After college, I started to study some Italian, German, Portuguese and a bit of Chinese on my own. (Remember that knowledge post?) I love how foreign words roll off of my tongue. Children love to use them, too. Laying the foundation at an early age helps them continue to learn new languages as they get older.

You can read my introduction to my Montessori language album here.

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