Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Three Period Lesson

Many parents wonder exactly how we go about presenting lessons to children. Montessori teachers use what's called the three period lesson to present or re-present information pertaining to any topic.

Let's say I want to teach a 2 1/2 year old the primary colors. I might use the first color box on a mat.

First Period: I would place the red tablet in the center of the mat and say "This is red." I would move that tablet aside and place the blue tablet in the center of the mat. I would then say "This is blue". I would continue this way with the yellow tablet. The first period is all about naming.

Second Period: Next, I would place all three color tablets on the mat in full sight. I would ask the child, "Can you point to red?" or "Can you show me yellow?". For children who need to move around, I might say, "Can you place blue on the snack table?" or "Can you put red in your cubby?". The second period is all about practice, hearing me say the new words.

Third Period: Finally, to assess the child's comprehension, I will point to a tablet and say, "What is this?". I'll continue asking these questions taking note of the child's level of mastery. The third period is all about naming.

Montessori teachers use the three period lesson to teach anything from kitchen utensils to the parts of a horse. Much of our language curriculum is based on the three period lesson. You can give these lessons at home, just look around the house. Maybe your child is interested in dad's tools, so choose three (the magic number for this lesson) and give it a try! Just remember, always practice first without your child!

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