Language is an essential tool for people to communicate. The fundamental areas of the Children’s House Language curriculum are Enrichment of Vocabulary, Development of Writing Skills, Continuation of Writing Skills, Function of Words, and Reading Analysis.
Enrichment of Vocabulary starts with the concrete by linking the child with objects in the environment. There is a mystery to the names and functions of objects which the child has recognized as part of their environment, but may need a lesson to absorb new language and meaning.
Development of Writing Skills lessons and activities help the child to strengthen their fine-motor skills before letter writing. In Preparation of the Hand the child traces their name using a pencil and tracing paper, coloring within the lines, cutting with scissors, bead stringing, and push pinning. The Metal Insets reinforce writing skills by tracing the frame and inset. With Sandpaper Letters, the child is presented the alphabet in 5 stages. Along with lessons about tracing and pronouncing the letters, the teacher presents a Three Period Lesson to the child to test their memory and knowledge of the letters. The Moveable Alphabet gives the child an opportunity for a hands-on approach to making words. Inside the Moveable Alphabet box are blue letters for the vowels and red letters for the consonants. There are object boxes in which the child places select objects on the rug to form its word with the moveable alphabet. Over time, the child uses picture cards in place of objects.
In Continuation of Writing Skills, the child watches the teacher write letters on a chalkboard before practicing themselves.
With Introduction to Reading Theory, the child is first asked to read. It is interesting that the child has learned to write before they are asked to read. In The Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori writes: “A child does not read until he receives ideas from the written word,” (229). With the first lesson: Phonetic Objects Game, the teacher and child have a conversation about objects such as a rug, a cat, a dog, a dot, and an ant. The teacher writes labels for the objects as the child observes how the teacher holds the pencil. The child is asked to read the labels and place them below each appropriate object. Other lessons include Phonograms, Puzzle Words, and Reading Classification.
Function of Words is subdivided into 10 categories: Article, Adjective, Logical Adjective Game, Detective Adjective Game, Conjunction, Preposition, Verb, Adverb, Logical Adverb Game, and Continuation of Command. The child reads phrases and uses distinct grammar symbols to label words as an article, adjective, conjunction, verb, adverb, or preposition. At the end of the lesson, the child is asked to write the words in their journal and symbolize the appropriate parts of speech.
In Reading Analysis, the teacher presents six lessons as the child “hunts” for subjects, actions, objects, and pronouns within a simple sentence.
Along with the Montessori materials, it’s imperative to ensure a language-rich environment by reading to the children. When a child hears a story, they learn new vocabulary, new concepts and ideas, develop an appreciation of language and the written word, and become eager to learn to read so that they can be independent.