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Aug 172015
 

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Aug 032015
 

NAME OF ACTIVITY

How to stand in a queue
AREA Practical LifeGrace and courtesy
AGE 3 years
MATERIALS One older child

PRESENTATION

  1. The children are to sit in a group with the older child standing in a prominent position facing away from the group. Say to the group of children “Today we will learn how to stand in a queue. Children watch me carefully”.
  2. Stand up and walk slowly
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    that “Jane” did not bump “Ann” while she was standing in the queue.

Aug 032015
 

NAME OF ACTIVITY

Cutting flowers for the classroom.
AREA Practical LifeCare of the Environment
AGE 3 ½ to 5 years
MATERIALS Montessori Cutting Flowers Activity

Tray2 glass vases.

Jug to fill vase.

Plastic work mat

Paper towel

Drying cloth

Secateurs or small pair of scissors.

Basket for collecting the flowers.

DIRECT AIM To pick flowers.
INDIRECT AIM Gross motor skills, developing concentration, to care for the environment, strengthen muscles in the arms and sequencing, reasoning skills.
PRESENTATION
  1. Invite the child to begin the Work Cycle.
  2. Take the basket and pair of scissors outside.
  3. Show the child how to choose a suitable flower.
  4. Hold the plant just below the flower with your left hand and with your right hand show the child how to trace down the stem of the flower.
  5. Move your left hand down to meet your right hand and exchange hands.
  6. Pick the scissors up in your right hand and snip the plant just below the position of your hand.
  7. Place this into the basket and return indoors.

TO ARRANGE THE FLOWER:

  1. Lay out the plastic mat on the table and place the vase on it.
  2. Ask the child to fetch some water in the jug indicating the water mark.
  3. Show the child how to pour the water into the vase leaving a little space in the top for displacement once the flowers are added.
  4. Use the drip cloth to catch any water droplets on the jug.
  5. Pick the flower up in your right hand and hold it against the side of the vase.
  6. Show the child how to measure the flower for size and to trim the flower should it be too long.
  7. Show him how to place the cut stems into the paper towel, which will later be discarded.
  8. Run your hand down the stem of the flower taking off any excess foliage.
  9. Add this into the paper towel.
  10. Place the flower into the vase and admire it.
  11. Place the vase on a table where there will be no danger of the plant being knocked over.
  12. Return all the materials to the tray.
  13. Show the child how to fold the paper towel so that the foliage does not fall out, and show him how to dispose of it.
  14. Fetch a clean square of paper towel. Fold it twice, and place it on the tray together with the other materials.
  15. Invite the child to have a turn.
CONTROL OF ERROR If the child has poured too much water into the vase, the water will spill when he carries the vase.If the child has cut the flower too short, it will not touch the water once it is placed into the vase.
EXTENSIONS Show the child how to collect and cut vegetables from the garden.Show the child how to trim flowers or bushes, of their dead leaves.

VARIATIONS

Cutting different types of flowers including wearing gloves for rose bush cutting.
Aug 032015
 
ACTIVITY:

Montessori Walking the Line

MATERIALS: Montessori Helper

An elliptical line on the floor.

The music for this exercise should be soft background music with no defined rhythm or strong contrast in loudness and softness.

As the exercise progresses from stage to stage, objects from the environment will be handed to the children to carry.

These must be gathered together in advance and placed on a table.e.g. Flags, parts of the pink tower, bells, tumbler of water, other items filled with water.

 

OBJECTIVES: To refine the control of movementTo enhance equilibrium

Using both sides of the brain

Balance

Control of movements

CONTROL OF ERROR: NA
AGE: 3 – 6 years approx.
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Stage 2

The music is started and the directress starts to walk on the line and the children follow. The Montessori Directress goes to the center of the ellipse and gives the stopping signal. She asks the children to be aware of any bunching up and when they have done so to stretch out their arms to make space between themselves.


Stage 3

The music is started and the Montessori Directress demonstrates the heel to toe step.

As the Montessori Directress walks around the ellipse using the heel to toe step, she invites the children to join her until all the children are participating.

The exercise will continue until the children show signs of disinterest.

The children will be invited to continue their work.

Stage 4

The music will start and the Montessori Directress will hand each child a flag to hold in his hand.

The Montessori Directress will show the children how to hold the flags correctly.

Once the children have had enough the Montessori Directress will take the flags from the children and replace them on the table.

Stage 5

The music is started and the children begin to walk with the Montessori Directress.

The capable children are given a solid object such as a bell or a few blocks of the Pink Tower/ a tumbler of water and the likes, to carry.

This will depend on their capability and the stage at which the child is.

Aug 032015
 

The example below of how a child would abstract the knowledge of the continents is exactly that, an example.

It is intended to explain the concept in a practical way, and to help one understand the process of abstraction.

It should also indicate why starting a child with a concept at too abstract a level can reduce the ability of the child to “learn through the senses” and fully internalise that knowledge in the fullness of time.

In Maths for example, concrete concepts are most often the building blocks of abstract mathematical principles and quite often a child is taught the abstract principles only, without having the opportunity to comprehend the concepts at a more concrete level initially. This is becoming an ever more common modern issue caused by too much unguided computer interaction at too early an age. The child needs to work through the “discovery” process spontaneously before fully internalising and grasping the knowledge, and the directress needs to guide that process without being prescriptive. See the five step example below..

Activity Equipment/Materials Description
1. Sandpaper Globe Lesson

image

Montessori Continent Sandpaper Globe Lesson, Age 3 to 6

The child begins the journey of discovery at this point. The Sandpaper globe is a round physical globe with sandpaper continents that feel rough to the touch and thus predominantly stimulate the child’s tactile senses. This activity is primarily concrete in nature.
2. Colour Globe Lesson


Montessori Continent (Colour) Globe Lesson, Age 3 to 6

The child begins the next step of the journey of discovery at this point. The Colour globe is a round physical globe with protruding continents that do not feel as rough as the sandpaper globe but are still discernable to the child’s tactile senses but more predominent to the child’s visual senses (of colour). This activity is less concrete. This is abstraction of Activity 1
3. Planosphere Lesson


Montessori Puzzle Map (Planisphere) of the World Lesson, Age 3 to 6

The child begins the next step of discovery at this point. The Planosphere is no longer a round physical globe, but a two dimensional puzzle with continents represented by coloured puzzle pieces. This activity is less concrete and more abstract. Note the globe has now changed from a 3 dimensional object to a 2 dimensional object. This is abstraction of Activity 2.
4. Continent Nomenclature Cards Physical Presentation


Montessori Continent Nomenclature Cards Age 3 to 6

The child begins the next step of discovery at this point. The Continent Nomenclature Cards two dimensional cards which show the continents as coloured objects without the context of the other countries and roundness of the globe. The child is now abstracting continents simply by their shape and colour regardless of other physical characteristics such as dimension and context. The child has moved from objects in context (i.e. the globes and the planosphere) to recognising the continents without context (the nomenclature cards). This is abstraction of Activity 3
5. Continent Nomenclature Cards Interactive Presentation


Montessori Interactive Continent Cards Age 3 to 9

The child begins the next step of discovery at this point. As computers were not commonplace at the time that Montessori wrote her methods, it is suggested that this step is not “purist” Montessori. It is however, an optional additional step which can be considered in the context of our modern technological environment. The same principles as mentioned below would still apply.
The child is now abstracting continents simply by their shape and colour regardless of other physical characteristics such as dimension and context, and within a virtual (non physical) way. The child has moved from objects in context (i.e. the globes and the planosphere) to recognising the continents without context (the nomenclature cards), to recognising the objects without context and direct physical interaction. This is abstraction of Activity 4.

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Abstraction is just one aspect of the Montessori Method, which is detailed and multi-faceted, and it is suggested that when applying the Montessori Method, the practitioner familiarise him/herself with the Method either through training or reading about it, in order to improve the outcomes and learning of the child.

With all Montessori interactions it is important to consider and understand the purpose of them, and to observe and guide the child in accordance with the purpose. The child will spontaneously abstract ideas if he or she is allowed to, by virtue of the environment and elements within it…and by careful and purposeful planning which is the key role of the Montessori directress or Montessori Parent.

To summarise in Montessori’s own words……

The child turns away spontaneously from the material, not with any signs of fatigue, but rather as if impelled by fresh energies, and his mind is capable of abstractions. At this stage of development, the child turns his attention to the external world, and observes it with an order which is the order formed in his mind during the period of the preceding development; he begins spontaneously to make a series of careful and logical comparisons which represent a veritable spontaneous acquisition of “knowledge.” This is the period henceforth to be known as the period of “discoveries,” discoveries which evoke enthusiasm and joy in the child.

Aug 032015
 

NAME OF MONTESSORI ACTIVITY

Large Moveable Alphabet

AREA

Language

AGE

4 – 4.5 Years

MATERIALS

 

  • A large wooden box containing different compartments. Each compartment has a quantity of a particular letter of the alphabet. The vowels are in blue, the consonants in pink or red.
  • The sandpaper letters.
  • A floor mat.

DIRECT AIM

  • To show the child, as an introduction to writing, that the symbols for the sounds in speech can be used to express thoughts and make words.

INDIRECT AIM

 

PRESENTATION

Pre Presentation

  1. Invite the child to get a work mat. Tell the child that we are going to familiarise them the letters in the movable alphabet.
  2. Open the box and place the lid underneath it.
  3. Place the lined floor mat below the box.
  4. Ask the child to find a sound in the box. For example, “Can you find the m?”
  5. If the child hesitates, ask the child to find the letters in the sandpaper letters, to trace it, and then to find it in the box or to match it to the letter in the box.
  6. Alternatively, introduce a sandpaper letter, ask the child to find its match in the box and show the child how to place the letter on the lined mat, next to the sandpaper letter, starting at the top, left hand side of the mat and working down.
  7. When the child feels confident with the movable alphabet, ask him to replace the letters in the box, beginning at the left-hand side of the mat, moving towards the right hand side, and as he replaces them, so he sounds out the letters.

Presentation 1 – Spontaneous Word Building

  1. Invite the child to get a work mat. Tell the child that we are going to work with the movable alphabet.
  2. Open the box and place the lid underneath it.
  3. Place the lined floor mat below the box.
  4. Suggest a three lettered word to the child, for e.g. cat.
  5. Say, “cat…what are the sounds you hear when I say cat?” The Montessori Directress says this in an even voice until she feels the child is tuned into the process and listening carefully.
  6. Say the word “cat” again, accentuating the sound, “C – a-t “. Repeat the sound if needs be.
  7. The child listens, identifies the sound, and places a C on the line, in the position as indicated by the Montessori Directress. (Starting at the top, left hand side of the mat and working down.)
  8. The Montessori Directress then asks the child, “Would you like to listen to the next sound, “c – A – t”, this time stressing the next sound.
  9. The child listens, repeats the sound, finds the letter and places it into position on the line beside the C.
  10. The Montessori Directress then asks the child if he would like to listen to the last sound. This time she stresses the “T” in c-a-t.
  11. The child listens, repeats the sound, finds the letter and places it into position on the line beside the “ A.”
  12. Go on to a second and possibly a third word depending on the child’s interest.
  13. Complete the work cycle by praising the child’s work saying, “We made some new words today. Well done and thank you for working with me. We can do some more tomorrow.”
  14. Show the child how to put away the letters. We do so from left to right, top to bottom, which is an aid to reading and writing directionality.
  15. As this is a word building exercise, we do not read the words back

Presentation 2

  1. Invite the child to get a floor mat. Tell the child that we are going to work with the movable alphabet.
  2. Open the box and place the lid underneath it.
  3. Place the lined floor mat below the box.
  4. The Montessori Directress places a three letter phonetic object in front of the child, placing it at the top, left hand side of the mat.
  5. She identifies it, saying, “This is a van (or a top, mat, ram, peg and so on)”.
  6. Say the word “van”, accentuating the sound, “V – a-n “. Repeat the sound if needs be.
  7. The child listens, identifies the sound, and places a V on the line, in the position as indicated by the Montessori Directress.
  8. The Montessori Directress then asks the child, “Would you like to listen to the next sound, “v – A – n”, this time stressing the next sound.
  9. The child listens, repeats the sound, finds the letter and places it into position on the line beside the “V”.
  10. The Montessori Directress then asks the child if he would like to listen to the last sound. This time she stresses the “N” in v-a-n.
  11. The child listens, repeats the sound, finds the letter and places it into position on the line beside the “ A.”
  12. Place out a second and possibly a third object, depending on the child’s interest and repeat the process.
  13. Thank the child for working with you and ask him to put the objects and letters back. If the child should spontaneously want to read the words through, allow it, but do not insist on it.

Presentation 3

  1. Invite the child to get a floor mat. Tell the child that we are going to work with the movable alphabet.
  2. Open the box and place the lid underneath it.
  3. Place the lined floor mat below the box.
  4. The Montessori Directress places a three letter phonetic picture card in front of the child, placing it at the top, left hand side of the mat.
  5. She identifies it, saying, “This is a van (or a top, mat, ram, peg and so on)”.
  6. Say the word “van”, accentuating the sound, “V – a-n “. Repeat the sound if needs be.
  7. The child listens, identifies the sound, and places a V on the line, in the position as indicated by the Montessori Directress.
  8. The Montessori Directress then asks the child, “Would you like to listen to the next sound, “v – A – n”, this time stressing the next sound.
  9. The child listens, repeats the sound, finds the letter and places it into position on the line beside the V.
  10. The Montessori Directress then asks the child if he would like to listen to the last sound. This time she stresses the “N” in v-a-n.
  11. The child listens, repeats the sound, finds the letter and places it into position on the line beside the “ A.”
  12. Place out a second and possibly a third object, depending on the child’s interest and repeat the process.
  13. Thank the child for working with you and ask him to put the objects and letters back. If the child should spontaneously want to read the words back, allow it, but do not insist on it.

CONTROL OF ERROR

 

EXTENSIONS

 

VARIATIONS

 
Aug 032015
 

The use of computer and handheld applications in the Montessori Method seems to attract mixed responses from Montessorians.

One of the cornerstones of the Montessori Method is that it relies on concrete cognitive signals that are gained from learning through the senses, for example a sensorial exercise with the Red Rods which is one of the foundations of Maths.

These concrete activities are then built upon in the abstract at a later stage. Why are sensorial activities important in Montessori you may ask ?

To a large extent, the iPhone apps could be considered as being based in the abstract and thus would be removing the concrete foundation upon which the abstract is built. That being said, the apps open Montessori to a far greater resource of information and make the sharing of that information easier.

It would be interesting to know what Maria Montessori’s view would have been on these technologies. The conclusion is that we don’t know. ..

As a non-prescriptive suggestion, when considering the use of these apps, always consider the Montessori method as intended and how it moves from concrete to abstract and then use this technology accordingly.

MontessoriHelper has a range of Android apps available that incorporate all of the lessons and materials found on the montessorihelper.com website. They are the perfect companion to the PDF materials and present a logical abstraction from them.

We recommend using our apps as an abstraction of the pdf materials and not in isolation

To see our available apps click here

Aug 032015
 

 

Read this first ! Why is the use of the phonetic alphabet important in Montessori…As the child moves throughout the language series, he follows an order of learning and putting together phonetic sounds, to build his reading and writing skills.

Consonant and Vowel Sounds

The Montessori reading series is mostly focused on the phonetic aspect of language. The child will spend time learning the initial sounds. Next the focus is on identifying middle sounds of words (emphasizing short vowel sounds), and the ending sounds of words. He does a lot of matching and sorting activities. Objects and pictures are matched by their sounds.

Blending Sounds

Once the child has mastered the twenty-six basic sounds of the alphabet, the directress will then start blending sounds with the child. She may do this with sandpaper letters or the movable alphabet, and it is done quite literally. The directress will place the two letters at opposite sides of the workspace, then slowly say their sounds. As she continues to repeat the sounds, she will move them closer together and say the sounds faster, until visually the sounds are next to each other and orally they are blended. A third and final sound will then be added. Many times word families are introduced.

The child also can practice blending sounds with the movable alphabet. He will try to make up some of his own words, sounding out words that he knows.

Pink Series

The pink series focuses on words with three individual sounds. Most commonly they are consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as cat, rug, mat, etc.  The child practices reading these words by labeling objects or pictures with cards. He practices spelling all of them with the movable alphabet. He also begins to learn sight words and starts work in appropriate phonetic readers.

Blue Series

In the blue series, short vowels are continued, but there are often more than three individual phonemes in the word. The child has to sound out consonant blends, which are when the two consonants keep their individual sounds. Initial consonant blends include bl, br, bl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, sc, scr, sk, sp, spr, st, str, tr. Final consonant blends include ct, ft, lt, mt, nt, pt, st, lm, ln, lp, mp. Consonant digraphs are also introduced. These include ch, ph, sh, th, wh, kn. Words may be as short as raft and whip, or as long as infant and pumpkin.

Activities in this series again include object and picture labeling and movable alphabet practice. He can also use materials for sentences instead of words. Appropriate readers are slightly more advanced than those for the pink series.

Green Series

In the green series, the rest of the phonetic sounds are introduced. Long vowels are introduce with the “Silent E” for example. Vowels change their sound as r-controlled vowels: ar, er , ir, or, ur. Digraphs and diphthongs are also introduced as more phonograms (vowel/vowel and vowel/consonant combinations that make a unique sound when together).

Digraphs are two vowels that next to each other make on individual sound, such as ai and ea. Diphthongs are a pair of vowels that make two vowel sounds within the same syllable, such as oi, ou, oy. Again the child practices sorting, labeling, reading word lists, spelling with the movable alphabet, and reading more advanced books. As all of these phonograms are introduced, the potential length of the word is indefinite.

The Pink, Blue, and Green series facilitate the flow of the Montessori method in phonetic learning and in conjunction with foundation activities (like the sandpaper letters) are the basis of learning the structure of language.

Note: As much as Montessori is a method, it is also a philosophy. We suggest you consider familiarizing yourself with this by reading Montessori’s books. When it is understood how the lessons relate to each other in this context one can achieve better outcomes

Aug 032015
 

No one can say that man creates artistic products out of nothing. What is called creation is in reality a composition, a
construction raised upon a primitive material of the mind, which must be collected from the environment by means of the senses. This is the general principle summed up in the ancient axiom: “Nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensa” (There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses).

We are unable to “imagine” things which…do not actually present themselves to our senses; even language would be lacking to us to explain things lying beyond those customary limits by which our consciousness is bounded.

Those born blind and deaf can form no definite idea of sensations they have never been able to perceive. It is well known that persons blind from their birth imagine colors by comparing them to sounds: for instance, they imagine red as the sound of a trumpet, blue as the sweet music of the violin. The deaf, when they read descriptions of delicious music, imagine the classic beauty of a painted picture. The temperaments of poets and artists are pre-eminently sensorial.

And all the senses do not contribute in equal measure to give a type to the individual imagination; but certain senses are often predominant. Musicians are auditive, and are inclined to describe the world from the sounds it conveys to them; the warbling of the nightingale in the silence of a wood; the patter of the rain in the solitude of the country-side, may be as springs of inspiration for great musical composers; and some of them, describing a tract of country, will dwell only on its silences and noises. Others again, whose susceptibilities are predominantly visual, are impressed by the forms and colors of things. Or it may be the motion, the flexuosity, the impetus of things; the tactile impressions of softness and harshness, which make up the descriptive content of imaginative types in whom the tactile and muscular sensations predominate.

Montessori Sensorial Activities are thus important in childhood development. as they develop the imagination through the senses, and ultimately are a basis for creativity ….which is vital for managing and adapting to an ever advancing modern world.

Aug 032015
 

The atmosphere of harmony that exists in a Montessori classroom is a reflection of the spontaneous behaviour of the children who have a heightened awareness of each other and a natural tendency towards loving and caring, both as individuals and as a social group.

In the Montessori environment, social manners and interaction are called Grace and Courtesy. Grace being the outer expression of our innerselves as observed in body language and movements: facial expressions such as smiles, eye- contact, tone of voice, inflection of the voice, body movements and the actual words used to express ourselves. Courtesy is the name given to the manners given for human interaction.

Neither grace nor courtesy are instinctive. They are acquired. The desire to acquire social skills is a fundamental need in a child in order for him to become fully integrated into his culture and fully adapted to society.

The child can only absorb what he experiences. In the first years of life during the first plane of development, the child absorbs every nuance of body language, action and movement. He listens intently to all inflections and intonations of voice and to the actual language used by the people in his environment. His Absorbent Mind internalises these impressions and they are stored in the unconscious memory.

Each culture has its own particular customs and courtesies and unless one is familiar with these specific manners one cannot successfully participate in that society.

It seems that in today’s fast moving world, traditional manners and courteous behaviour have become “ outdated”. We have to look at the values and dysfunction of our society and realise that loving and caring for others as well as for ourselves can diminish some of the deviations.

The purpose of the lessons is not to restrict the child but rather to set him free.

He is liberated if we give him the tools for successful human interaction.

The Montessori lessons give the child guidelines for social behaviour and this will enable him to have an openness towards others and an ability to reach out to others.

These lessons should be given at the right time; that is when the child is naturally inclined and naturally interested in learning these manners.

The Sensitive Period begins at around three years of age.

The lessons are given with the emphasis on our caring and awareness of others.

Control is not forced but a sensitivity for the good of others is instilled in the child. The child’s good manners are then a reflection of his sincere desire to be kind, helpful and caring. Dr. Montessori made this discovery when she observed the children’s reactions to a nose-blowing lesson, where the children clapped spontaneously.

The children wanted to know and were delighted to know.

It is the responsibility of the Montessori Directress to make the lessons of Grace and Courtesy an integral part of the Montessori Prepared Environment.

Technique of a Grace and Courtesy Lesson.

These lessons should always be presented to the whole class or to the children who have not had the lesson before.

The lessons are presented as a little dramatic play. A precise, specific social situation is isolated and acted out. The Montessori Directress acts this play with the help of her assistant because it requires another person for interaction.

Before and after each lesson a discussion is held with the children concerning the particular circumstances in which the situation might occur. Our consideration for others is the reason for manners and this aspect is highlighted.

After each drama is presented, every child is invited to have a turn. Not all children will accept the invitation but they are asked nevertheless. The children must be naturally ready to take part and not be coerced.

It is important not to persecute and constantly remind a child of these manners but the children should come to the realisation that they desire to behave in this way for themselves. The children will be “trained” and not come to these manners naturally should we constantly nag them.

Where the children are slow to grasp the lessons, we may re-present the lessons in such a way that it creates a new emphasis.

LESSONS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 3 GROUPS.

1st – Procedural
E.g. bathroom routine, waiting in line..

2nd – Social Interactions in the Classroom.
E.g. passing objects to one another, apologising after bumping into someone.

3rd – Social Situations
E.g. Answering the telephone, greeting someone.

The presenter must practise before the lessons can be given so that the exact words and sequence of movements are known and flow spontaneously. The lesson must be kept simple by isolating one difficulty, one skill.

Children learn by example. It is imperative that the adults in the Montessori Environment behave in a courteous manner.

These lessons guide the child towards Normalisation.

The Normalisation of society the world over can be achieved by the harmony radiated by socially integrated aware and caring human beings.

Aug 022015
 

View these videos below for a simple explanation of how the card materials are used in the Montessori Method and what there purpose is.
 

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Aug 012015
 
image
Montessori Art – Art Step 2 Level 1 Age 3 to 6 :

Category : The Arts, Downloadable PDF.

Compare Subscription Options.

Size: Each Page is A4 in size and has two nomenclatures per page

Number of Pages : 6

Age : 3 to 6

Instructions for use :

  • Download the Montessori Nomenclature PDF file to your PC and then print it out.
  • Once you have printed the Montessori Nomenclature Cards, then cut them along the perforated lines.
  • You should laminate the cards if you can, if you cannot you can paste them onto a piece of firm cardboard paper.
  • For each page you will have cut out one card that has the description included in it and one card without the description.
  • You will also cut out the separate description tag, which is used for sequential matching.
Jul 302015
 
image
Montessori Art – Art Step 2 Level 2 Age 3 to 6 :

Category : The Arts, Downloadable PDF.

Compare Subscription Options.

Size: Each Page is A4 in size and has two nomenclatures per page

Number of Pages : 6

Age : 3 to 6

Instructions for use :

  • Download the Montessori Nomenclature PDF file to your PC and then print it out.
  • Once you have printed the Montessori Nomenclature Cards, then cut them along the perforated lines.
  • You should laminate the cards if you can, if you cannot you can paste them onto a piece of firm cardboard paper.
  • For each page you will have cut out one card that has the description included in it and one card without the description.
  • You will also cut out the separate description tag, which is used for sequential matching.