The founder of the Montessori Education Method, Maria Montessori, emphasized the importance of linguistic skills for learners' holistic growth. In her words, "for words are the natural means of expressing thoughts and establishing understanding between people."
Therefore, helping children expand their vocabulary has been a crucial part of early childhood education under the Montessori method.
Among several ways to help children learn new words, here are the most effective and easy-to-follow ones for teachers.
Children enter preschool with a pre-learned vocabulary learned at home or other social settings and the media. Instead of starting with new words, teachers involve students in word recall exercises. It could be something as simple as naming the objects of daily use during a student-teacher interaction session or naming things in an educational video that a teacher may play in the class. This exercise also helps teachers assess whether a child understands the meaning of the words.
Circle time games are daily features in Montessori School. Teachers make students participate in different games such as color hunt, Chinese Whispers, find the object on the chit, and make them learn new words. To introduce words from categories such as surroundings, social relations, fruits, vegetables, food items, etc., teachers may add a theme to circle time games. Each group may be given a set of words in the same category or based on various themes.
Singing Songs and Narrating Poems
Singing songs or reading poems aloud is fun, engaging, and exciting. It helps children learn about colors, places, things, body parts, rhyming words, etc. For example, 'If you are happy and you know it' helps children learn about emotions and gross body movements through actions. Similarly, 'Heads, shoulders, knees, toes' is a great children's song to teach them names of the body parts, including various body movements and actions. Since children learn through imitation, teachers must emote and perform actions for children.
Talking about Taste, Smells, and Needs
While it is easier to teach words that define tactile objects, making children identify and name different tastes, smells, and needs requires teachers to go a step ahead. Pre-snacks-break or lunchtime may be an ideal time for teachers to get involved with students and help them learn new words related to taste and flavors, urges such as hunger, thirst, feeling full, or smells like fragrance, foul smell, odourless ness, etc. A walk in nature is also an excellent way to teach learners different smells and colors, among other concepts.
Writing or Putting Blocks Together
Vocabulary learning is incomplete without writing or putting moveable alphabets together. It helps children learn to spell the new words that they learn every day. Initially, they may not spell correctly, but as their phonetic understanding, visual understanding, and textual expression align, they begin to spell the words correctly, besides recalling and pronouncing them.
Expanding your vocabulary is a key to success in a classroom. Montessori school students are constantly asking you to expand your knowledge. It’s a great way to get practice with a new language and expand your horizons as a person. These seven ways will help you expand your vocabulary in no time