The Montessori 3 Period Lesson

How to introduce new words and concepts

What is 3 Period lesson ?

  • It is the very nature of Montessori basic classroom technique when introducing nomenclature (vocabulary) to 3-6 year old preschool children.

  • It uses 3 simple stages of teaching - that which gradually increase in difficulty. 1) Introduction 2)Recognition 3)Recall

  • It is always used with concrete tangible objects or pictures.

  • In the math curriculum, the 3 Period Lesson is only used to introduce the names of numbers (both quantity and numerals).


Preparations for the 3 Period Lesson

  • Be very familiar with the vocabulary you would be introducing
  • Prepare the required objects - use only 3 to 4 objects at a time. If your kid is small, or the words are long and difficult - eg. quadrilateral, quadrefoil... introduce only 2.
  • Don't just teach the child because you want to. Ensure that the child is ready to learn and shows interest in it. Invite the child to work with you. Say, "Would you like to work with me ?" or "I'd like to work with you on some new words...etc"
  • Choose a quiet place free of distractions.
    Carrying out the 3 Period Lesson
    Eg. Introducing Geometric Solids - Ovoid, Ellipsoid, Sphere

  • Stage 1 - Introduction - (This is.....)
    Introduce one object at a time
    Hold object (sphere) and feel around it with your hand
    Say, "THIS IS a sphere". Roll it around.
    Invite child to repeat. "Can you say, "sphere"
    Introduce 2nd object. "THIS IS an Ovoid...
    Introduce 3rd object. "THIS IS an Ellipsoid....

  • Stage 2 - Recognition - (Show me...)
    Ask the child, "Show me an Ellipsoid"
    "SHOW ME an Ovoid"
    "Put the Sphere over here"
    You may say, "Give me, Place here, Put there...etc

  • Stage 3 - Recall - (What is...)
    Point to the Sphere and ask, "WHAT IS this?"
    Point to the Ovoid and ask, "WHAT IS this?"
    Point to the Ellipsoid and ask, "WHAT IS this?"


Some Pointers to take note of :
  • These three steps may not happen all in one seating. A child may move through Stage 1 and 2 and then stall. Every child learns at different pace. Be ever so observant and mindful of the child's attention span and speed of mastering new words.

  • Do not rush through Stage 2 - "Show me". You may have to do this stage a few times; sometimes over a few days before expecting your child to know the "WHAT IS this?" This is the most critical period and you need more time to drill this through.

  • Repetition is important for mastery, and preschool kids love it though we adults tend to get bored and uncomfortable sooner than necessary.

  • Nomenclature means vocabulary. Nomenclature Cards are often used in the Montessori classroom when introducing different parts of a plant, vehicle, animal, .....etc

  • Do not shy away from teaching big words. To a child, a new word is a new word, whether it is an egg or an ovoid. It is easier to say "decagon" than to have to say "shape with 10 sides" If you're still not convinced, just listen to kids who could rattle the names of dinosaurs - eg. Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus...etc


What is the Montessori Method for preschools ?

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