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Notes to a Montessori Parent - Remember to give the child real, technical or scientific names.

Otto with language dog basket at How we Montessori

When children are in the sensitive period for naming things they can benefit from being given the real, technical or scientific names of things. Rather than 'dog', we can tell the child this is a 'Dalmatian', or rather than 'flower' we can say 'Daffodil'. It can help satisfy the child's hunger for knowledge, challenge their language skills and set them up for a lifetime of scientific curiosity.  

This is something I'm not always good at. Often I need to look up the names of trees, plants, flowers and, birds in our garden, or search to see what type of dog we see out walking. It's not about being perfect but trying, where we can, to use the correct language. It helps the children to learn more about the world about them and often I learn something too. Remember this can start from birth! 

"In the first three years of life the child is absorbing, without effort, every experience and the name of everything. Near the end of this period of life she will "explode" into language, using all the words she has been hearing. So from the beginning we can use the exact words, so the child will be able to. Not just flower but California Poppy, and descriptive words such as orange, small, and soft. If you are a gardener who knows the Latin or scientific names of plants, you will find that these are as easy for the child as the common names and what fun to learn them now." - Montessori Biology - Birth to Age Twelve at Michael Olaf. 

"The child has a real hunger for words, asks about the names of things and practices them without pause even when he is alone. In our experience, we have seen children between 14 and 24 months of age learning the rare and special names of 15 cars (or birds, or flowers or special means of transport, etc.)... It is of crucial importance to train the adults who are with the children in this period. If they understand that there is a 'sensitive period for naming things' and respond to the hunger for words in an appropriate way, they can give their children a richness and precision of language that will last a lifetime." - Understanding the Human Being by Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro. 

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