Language is fundamental to the human experience. Not only does it allow us to communicate, but it also serves as the basis for thinking about ourselves, others and the surrounding world.
For those who didn’t grow up with Montessori, when we think of language curriculum, we may flash back to memories of sounding out words in a reader, completing grammar worksheets, or learning the teacher’s interpretation of a work of literature. While the skills gained from these experiences can be valuable in developing literacy, their scope is limited.
The Montessori approach to language instruction extends beyond traditional grammar and literary studies. By viewing language as essential to all human activity, Montessori classrooms integrate language development into all types of work and fields of inquiry, beginning in infancy and continuing through adolescence.
Because children need concrete experiences to acquire language and develop greater fluency, Montessori devised materials and activities that provide tangible, useful applications. Because communication is so closely tied to each person’s self-worth and style, Montessori classrooms provide a positive, constructive environment for language study, rather than emphasizing error.
In a recent panel discussion, four of our guides, representing students of all developmental stages, outlined the progression of the Montessori language curriculum designed to support the earliest cooing and babbling through business emails and creative writing. Each level progressively builds upon the achievements of the preceding ones. The following are some highlights and at-home tips for parents: