The development of language in early-childhood classrooms is an umbrella for the entire Montessori curriculum. Language learning occurs most profoundly in the moment-to-moment life of interactions within the classroom. Children learn to listen, speak, and later to write and read. A balanced environment, one that is open yet not chaotic or inappropriate, is the most conductive to language learning. Activities related to the development of early-literacy skills greet young children when they visit the language area of a Montessori classroom. The activities include opportunities for young children o expand vocabulary, listen carefully to common sounds, and look carefully to find likenesses and differences among objects and pictures. Matching sets of object, learning the names of household tools, unusual fruits and vegetables and geometric shapes are other activities which build language and early literacy skills and will be found in a Montessori Classroom. Dr. Maria Montessori personally developed only three language materials for the early childhood classroom: the metal insets, the sandpaper letters, and the moveable alphabet. However, they have proven astoundingly effective. In fact, educators outside of Montessori have recognized the effectiveness of these materials and have created similar actives now being used in a variety of early-childhood settings.
In Montessori Classrooms, teachers incorporate both phonetic and whole-world strategies. To meet the needs of all children, teachers need to use a variety of strategies.
The language area contains many learning opportunities such as:
- Learning the shapes and sounds of the letters
- Perfecting the fine motor skills for writing
- Vocabulary development
- Matching of words and pictures
- Reading silently
- Reading development (reading word lists, sentences, and stories)
- Parts of speech-word games with sounds, verbs and adjectives