In March, ETC Montessori released an entire line of printed materials specifically designed for toddlers (18 months to 3 years).
Here you will find printed materials specifically designed to meet the pedagogical needs of children ages 1-3 for language development and acquisition in a Montessori classroom. Used by AMI and AMS classrooms, each item is printed on thick plastic, cut, and all the corners are rounded. All material comes in large cards measuring at least 5.5" x 5.5" in. (14" x 14" cm) with clear pictures, and no visible words of any kind.
Two general categories have been identified. The first, are sets of matching cards, have been carefully designed to help very young children in the development of language skills. The idea is to create an environment that is interactive and engages the young mind not only in conversation but also in the acquisition of new vocabulary.
The direct aim for these cards is to begin with the card identified by a blue circle, and find an object that matches it. The indirect aim is help the child become familiar by moving from left to right to indirectly prepare her for reading.
The second set of cards, has been designed to incorporate elements of current brain research. The scientific approach in both the presentation as well as the indirect aims of each set is aimed at forming the basis for higher level thinking skills in very young children. The idea is to allow children to generalize from the specific object to a much broader definition or general category be it fruits, vegetables, or animals. Based on the pictures, children are also afforded the benefit of developing the concept that objects in general, may be viewed from different vantage points, and have different visual perspectives, while still retaining the general characteristics of the said object. So, an eggplant is still an eggplant if viewed from the side, top, or bottom.
Following the release of these products, 9 support videos were released so that teachers can see how best to implement these materials in their classrooms as well as how to do the presentations.
In total there are nine steps that are recommended for language development and acquisition.
Step 1: Object Recognition
Step 2: Object to Picture Matching
Step 3: Picture to Picture Matching
Step 4: Same Object Different Perspectives Sorting
Step 5: Animals and their Young Matching
Step 6: Different Object, Similar Characteristics Sorting
Step 7: Same Object, Different Sectional Views Sorting
Step 8: Same Animal Different Color Sorting
Step 9: Same Color, Different Object Sorting