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Language Arts – Preprimary (ages 3-6)

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In the preprimary classroom, vocabulary growth is rapid. Children soak in the names of every item in their environment. Each area of the classroom has its own set of vocabulary and language experiences. The conversations and play that arise from the exploration of the materials are valued in the Montessori classroom. The observant adult in this environment creates safe opportunities and challenges for children to move forward with their language development. Structures in the block area often lead to fantasy play. Children may want to dictate or write a particularly fascinating story. There may be extra large paper and pencils available for anyone who might like to draw pictures of their block or sensorial structures. Children may choose to add words to their drawings. A specific table may be set aside for letter writing, supplied with beautiful note cards, postcards, and writing implements. Often items in a classroom are labeled with the name of the object, so children learn sight words effortlessly. Children may make signs and labels of their own and place them appropriately around the room.

The beauty of language in the preprimary classroom is that it is part of everything, so it is easily adapted to the needs of each child. As reading and writing skills develop, children move through similar stages, but at their own individual pace and with their own individual way of understanding. Materials in the language arts area are selected to address the stages of language development and reflect the individual need of the current students. “Line time” specifically focuses on oral and auditory language development with activities such as singing, listening to music and making music, responding to verbal directions, child-led presentations, and sometimes just having a group conversation.
Maria Montessori made very few language-specific materials, because the development of language is a process encouraged and supported by the use of language itself. Nevertheless, a myriad materials and activities promote speaking, listening, reading and writing.

The freedom and community of the classroom allows for spontaneous expression and constant interchange between children and adults. Questioning and problem solving through conversation happens all day long.

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