Montessori Three Period Lessons, designed for preschoolers and kindergartens, allow for an easier absorption process by isolating, reinforcing, and repeating each step.
Almost every Montessori lesson (from Language to Geography to Math) is presented as a Three Period Lesson, which is proven to afford a child optimum assimilation of learning material. The presentation can be very confusing (trust me, I have been there), but when you break it down, it is really simple.
Montessori Three Period Lesson in a Nutshell
(1P) This is ______.
(2P) Will you show me ______?
(3P) What is this?
I wrote little cards with the 3 steps and it was really helpful.
In a Montessori language curriculum, alphabet letters are not first presented to a child in alphabetical order, like A, B, C, D etc. The idea is to introduce the letters phonetically (the way they sound) rather than by the name. Phonetical order is proven to be very effective in allowing children to quickly form as many words as possible when learning the letter sounds. There are few orders suggested, and we are following the order suggested in How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin.
The complete order is:
First set: c m a t
Second set: s r i p
Third set: b f o g
Fourth set: h j u l
Fifth set: d w e n
Sixth set: k q v x y z.
In a video below, for illustrative purposes using the first set: c – m – a – t, Adrian is demonstrating the Three-Period Lesson:
Montessori Three Period Lessons, designed for preschoolers and kindergartens, allow for an easier absorption process by isolating, reinforcing, and repeating each step. If a child stumbles at any point, you would go back and begin the lesson with step 1 again, gradually moving through the steps until the child is able to complete all three steps.
We are using lower case Wooden Movable Alphabet
Montessori Three Period Lesson Explained:
1st Period (1P): Introduction/Naming: allow the child to touch/feel/smell the item.“This is ______.” Describe as much as you can: tasty, green, sweet, sharp, small etc. For example, if you introduce movable alphabet, repeat the sound the letter makes several times during the first period.
2nd Period (2P): Recognition/Association: the second period is the most important and should last the longest. During this period the child is actively engaged in a process. You may use different phrases to facilitate the response to your question such as: “Will you show me____?”, “hand me/can you pass me,” “Where is____?” , “can you point to__”, “put __ on the tray”, “return __ to the shelf.” If your child has difficulty, simply start with the first period again.
With smaller children it is advisable to incorporate movement: “Can you put____ on the chair?” or “Can you bring____ to Mommy? Once all the items are placed somewhere else, ask the child “Can you bring____ back on the carpet?” The younger the child, the shorter should be the distance you let them walk with the item. (They should be able to find the item and bring it back again.) But, the older the child, the farther you can let them walk with the item. Children usually love placing items in different places and then bring them back again later. Such activity lets them build a stronger relationship between the object and its name.
3rd Period (3P): Independent learning/Recall: you would point to or hold the item: “What is this?” If the child can answer the third period, s/he has completed the Three-Period -Lesson. By engaging your child and asking questions, we facilitate active learning rather than mere passive listening. (We all know that it is possible to “listen” without really listening if your mind wonders about something else.) The idea is that if the child can reiterate the third -period: “This is letter B,”, then the child is at the same level as the teacher/parent who started with the first-period, telling the child for the first time: “This is letter B”, and such completes the circle.
Montessori Three Period Lesson TIPS:
- It is advisable with smaller children to present no more than three objects at a time. Once you complete the Three-Period-Lesson with these three objects, you can offer three new objects, starting with the first -period again.
- Also, if a child makes a mistake, rather than correcting, reiterate the lesson. For example, if, to your question: “Will you show me 2?” the child points to 1, you may proceed by saying: “This is 1, This is 2. Will you show me 2?”
Good luck with Montessori Three Period Lesson and be patient. This really works!
Read here the post about Second Phonetical Order Set: s r i p.
Read more about our Language curriculum in our Letter Series post here.
Have you downloaded my NEW eBook THE BASICS? It has everything you need to know to get started on your Montessori journey, as well as a CURRICULUM outline reference guide, the order of lessons, and the age when they should be introduced, in my opinion. See details HERE.
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