Above pictured are some of the recent language baskets and trays I've used with Otto (18 months). My approach with Otto is slightly different to what I used with Otis. I've made sure that all of Otto's language materials are relevant to him and our family. The animals are animals that he has seen, the vehicles have been seen in our community, the workers are those that Otto knows, the flowers and herbs are from our very own garden. There are no Australian animals, no African or Arctic animals, we will introduce these later, once they become relevant to him. I've also tried to include items that interest him.
Toddlers are absorbing so much and learning about the world around them, they are trying to make sense of the world around them. We can assist them with language, by giving them the names, the words of things. Why not start with the things that really exist around them.
Dogs / Birds
Transport / Insects
Community Workers / Farm Animals
Root Vegetables / Fruit
Herbs / Flowers
Language baskets are primarily about language, teaching the names of things, to increase knowledge, expand vocabulary and comprehension. At home, language baskets can also be used for open-ended play. We can also take them into the kitchen and cut the foods open and taste them, admire what is inside. We can use the language baskets for a three-period lesson. I keep in mind to use accurate language and scientific names. At 18 months we haven't used any language cards or started any matching activities. Otto is really absorbed in his current materials, this will be a natural progression.
We are also constrained by our environment and resources. I love looking at language baskets in toddler classrooms. Often I've seen miniature work tools, model gardening materials, holiday clothes (often doll sized), beach clothes and equipment all in language baskets. Please note that you may want to use less objects in your language baskets than we have in ours pictured, often it's best to start with fewer object especially if they are new to the child or if the child is younger.
- Notes to a Montessori Parent - Remember to give the child real, technical of scientific names at How we Montessori.
- The Three-Period Lesson at Montessori Services.
- The winning formula Montessori teachers use to teach a lesson at The Montessori Notebook.