Maria Montessori stated that “The child must be exposed to language during this sensitive period or it will not develop” (Montessori: A Modern Approach). The Montessori Tides Toddler Community offers diverse opportunities for clear, precise, accurate, descriptive language modeled by the adults for the toddlers to absorb and express. The adults are careful to model absolute courtesy in their spoken language at all times.
The classroom is full of interesting objects and activities which elicit verbal responses. In addition, the classroom has a language shelf and items are regularly rotated. At any given time one may find object sorting and matching, music tickets and poetry cards, color work, smelling jars, the mystery bag, picture matching with mother baby-pairs, birds, art pictures and more. Our daily circle time is an opportunity to share finger plays, and puppets, poetry, books and rhymes, language lessons, and music through songs and opportune time to have the child follow simple directions, for example: “Please bring a pair of socks from your cubby.”
The purpose of this emphasis on language is to give the child an awareness of its power and an appreciation of the beauty that language can express. We internalize Dr. Montessori’s belief that language is a window to the universe and to the soul. No one can “teach” language to the child, as the ability to acquire language is innate. The classroom materials are designed to give order and form to the experience necessary for language acquisition.