One of the best things about the Montessori curriculum is that each and every lesson or activity is dynamic and adaptable according to the age and ability of the participating child/children. This is easily exemplified in activities using 3-part cards, which are used to teach language skills in the Montessori classroom.

Three-part cards consist of three separate cards, featuring: a picture, a label (i.e. the name of the picture), and a control card with the picture and the label together. For children aged 3-6, a language lesson using these cards will typically take place at a large surface (like a work rug on the floor, or a large table). The directress will initiate the activity by naming each object as she places the associated control card down on the surface, thereafter doing the same with the picture card and the label.

The point of the activity is to familiarise children with the picture and its identifying label. Have a look at the brief tutorial below, courtesy of My Montessori Works:

After this initial introduction to the activity, the child can be given a chance to put the picture cards across the top of the rug or table (as per the directress’s example); then match the labels to the picture. The control card is used to check each picture/label.

As mentioned in the tutorial; if the child seems restless, a good way to engage his interest is to allow him to get up and move; ask him to go and find the object in question or to collect three examples of something related to the theme you’re working with. This is a good way to not only allow children to expend energy so that they are able to concentrate better but to enable them to change perspective on the activity; as a fun game rather than something they’re struggling to grasp.

The 3-part cards are always easily accessible in our classrooms and once children have understood the principles of the activity, they usually have great fun doing the exercise on their own – matching the picture with the label and using the control card to check. It’s a great way to teach self-correction, which means that the children are being guided in their learning thus encouraging both confidence and independence.

If you’d like further information about this tutorial, feel free to contact us at info@saintandrewsmontessori.com. We’re happy to answer any questions.

Image by Imagineourlife.com