The importance of
Montessori Classified Cards is often overlooked. It's a material that
can follow the child for their full 3 years in the Casa (primary) and
can be used for vocabulary, classification, reading, writing, culture,
geography, and art. How many Montessori materials are that versatile?
We carry a large selection of Classified Cards, but we often get questions from customers on exactly how to
use them. So, we'll tackle the ins and outs of Classified Cards and help
you help your child(ren)/students to make better use of them.
Cards are generally designed in a 3-Part Series; one picture card with a
label, one picture card without a label, one label.....example in the
photo: farm animals.
Sometimes you will find
that the picture card with a label actually has the label on the
backside of the card. We've designed our cards with the labels on the
front - for two reasons. #1. The card with the label attached is used as
a 'control card' when the child is reading the labels and matching them
to the picture cards. Having to flip the labeled card over to check
their work seems pointless. #2 Preparation of materials (printing,
cutting, laminating and trimming) takes time .... and time is at a
premium for most teachers and parents. So, we cut out the additional
step of gluing a label on the back and instead have it printed on the
front of the cards.
On to the reason we use the
Classified Cards. They are meant to be a 'key' to the child. They help
the child to have a greater understanding of their environment, the
world, and where things fit in. There are many (most often too many)
objects that could be included in each of the sets of cards.
purpose of Classified Cards is to enrich and enlarge a child's
vocabulary, and to aid in the classification of the environment. This is
typically done with no more than 12 cards per set. If you have a
larger selection of cards per set you can rotate them, however that can
interfere with the indirect purposeof the cards; which is
preparation for further studies. The cards are meant to give a small
introduction to the child; it piques their curiosity and they are then
internally driven to find out which other objects belong within the
classification. This of course doesn't happen until the child is 5-6
years of age.
Seven ways a set of Classified Cards
can be used for a child's 3 years in the Casa.
1) The picture cards (without
labels) are used with very young children (2-3 years of age) to enrich
their language. Simply show them a picture, and using clear and crisp
speech say the name of the picture - then ask them to repeat the word. (read How to Use Montessori Nomenclature for specifics on giving this lesson)
2) The picture cards with
labels are used for a child who is beginning to read (3-4 years of age).
You can use these cards in small groups to play games like "I Spy".
This will help children to make connections between letters and sounds.
i.e) Using pictures of woodland animals - "I spy with my little eye an
animal that starts with the sound 'buh' ..... can anyone show me an
animal that starts with the sound 'buh'?" (bear)
3) The picture
cards without the labels and the labels themselves, are used for
children who are reading (4-5 years of age). At this stage the child is
very familiar with the names of the objects and their classifications as
they've been exposed to them for over 2 years. The point now is to read
the labels and match them to the objects that they are already familiar
with - it's a reading lesson. They read the labels, match them to the
correct pictures and use the labeled picture cards to check their work
(in Montessori we refer to these cards as "control cards").
Classified Cards can be used for printing practice, vocabulary cards,
and spelling practice. Often at the age of 5-6 years a child will start
making mini projects. They learn how to pull together all of the
information they have been absorbing and inquiring about, and present it
on a project board, in lap books, or note-booking.
Cards are useful for introducing children to various cultures. The
difficulty here is finding cards that are in your own language, unless
of course you're teaching a second language at the same time. We do have
a large variety of 3-Part Cards in our Geography
section that introduce children to the animals, food, landmarks, and
musical instruments for each the continents. These cards are a wonderful
way to expose children to the greatness and variety within our world.
Just as the cards are used for introducing various cultures, they too
can open doors to learning about the geography of our world. It's
interesting to see how different cultures dress, eat and live, according
to their geographical location.
7) As children begin to further
explore and understand the world and the classifications within it,
they often enjoy drawing pictures or making models (with clay,
papier-mâché, etc). Their exposure to photographic picture cards, images
(educational videos), and hopefully the real thing (visiting museum,
zoo, field trip, etc) will help them to solidify the concepts, images,
connections and classifications in their mind, and then use their hands
(through art) to express and enjoy what they have learned.
you can now see, Classified Cards offer the children years of use! Don't
pack them away or let them collect dust on your shelves. Instead, think
about how to incorporate them back into an older child's education.
They will look at them with new eyes as their understanding and
perception of the world has grown.