Command Cards In Early Reading

 
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Montessori offers several mechanisms to help early readers; one of our favorites is the "command cards". Children who have recently begun reading small words love the mystery of opening folded command cards. Command cards usually contain action words ("Jog", "Sit") that the child reads, processes and then proceeds to act out. Once the child becomes a more fluent reader, the command cards contain short sentences, and later, even simple recipes for the child to read and execute.

If your child has begun reading, this is also a great activity to try out at home, and a wonderful way to practice reading in short 5-10 minute sprints.

The Arts in Montessori

 
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The arts represent the primal human need for communication beyond just words. Our earliest human societies valued music, dance, painting and theatre for this very reason: sometimes non-verbal modes of communication provide a more nuanced, enriched route to representing and sharing our thoughts and feelings.

For early learners, the arts can provide a deeply meaningful medium for expressing themselves on paper (as they literally don’t yet have the words!). The powerful feeling experienced by a young child on using artwork to communicate meaning provides deep motivation for the more abstract art that soon follows: that of writing.

To provide an opportunity for this to happen, Montessori educators integrate the arts throughout the classroom, both formally (through materials such as the Metal Insets) and in a more unstructured manner (an attractive set of crayons and paper, with no expectations on end product).

Sometimes, the latter is especially powerful, as in the case pictured here -- a 3 year old excitedly talks us through her drawing, telling us that this is a picture of “the sun and the sea”. For a child who cannot yet write, what a wonderful way to express meaning!