Through the use of a multitude of activities, a child first learns his phonetic sounds, phonetic reading and writing, irregular or sight words, phonograms and blends, which leads to fluent (total) reading. We also document journal keeping, creative writing, whole language and poetry.
These are some of the activities within the Montessori environment:
- Spoken Language Activities: throughout the year children are introduced to the Hebrew, English and Yiddish language through a variety of activities: spoken language, songs, weekly parsha and Yom Tov vocabulary focusing on particular words per week so that the child is familiarized with the words.
- Reading to the Children: If English is the first language a parent and teacher is encouraged to read as much possible to the child to instill a love for reading. There are many books that are exciting for the child and teach many different Torah concepts. If Hebrew and Yiddish are a second language, it is good to have simple picture vocabulary books so that he child understands its meaning becoming familiarized with the language.
- Public Speaking: The child is encouraged to bring an object from home and speak about the object and its significance to him. This exercise could be done especially after Yom Tovim when a child has lived through the experience of that Yom Tov and is excited to share the most recognized moments with the class connecting it with the object.
- Language Mystery bag: The Mystery bag it’s a fun exercise for children; they pass around the bag and try to identify the objects inside the bag without looking at it. This is a perfect opportunity to use objects from the vocabulary of the week helping the child to call the object by it’s Hebrew or Yiddish name.
- Enriching the Classroom with Words: By labeling objects in the room the child will see that each object has a proper name, this includes the materials used. The child should be able to call each material by their name. There are many ways to enrich the classroom without overcrowding it with large labels. The labels should be simple. By using the right opportunities like the calendar, the seasons and this type of simple and organized charts children are able to learn many words in Hebrew, English or Yiddish.
- A Language Theme: the language theme in a Jewish Montessori environment should be Parsha of the week as well as Yom Tovim. there should be books in the reading area that are related to the parsha, new materials as well as language exercises should be made accessible for the child to explore, within the practical life area there should be a particular task that relates to the parsha or the Yom Tov, in the Arts and Crafts area the child should be introduced to a new project relating to the parsha remembering always that the projects should be simple enough that the child is able to do it himself.
- Phonetic Sounds: Teaching English the educator focuses on the sound of the letter. With Hebrew what makes the sound is the Nekudo; therefore the sound should always be introduced with the Nekudo “The Nekudo is the soul of the letter”.
- Introducing Small Objects: By using small physical objects the child identifies the object connecting it with its particular sound. In Hebrew Nekudos should always be used when putting sound to a letter.
- Metal Insets: The metal insets are created mainly to develop handwriting skills, children use these templates for tracing. Hand-eye coordination, geometric exploration, and manipulative skills are also developed. The set includes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, quatrefoil, ellipse, oval, pentagon, trapezoid and rhombus.
- Sandpaper Letters: The sandpaper letters were designed to introduce the letter symbols to the phonetic sounds. When a child begins working with the Sandpaper Letters, this is their first experience with combining a “sound” with a “symbol”. In Hebrew we can use the sandpaper letters to introduce the letter itself; the child experiences the letter by touch and sight. When the child is ready he is able to trace the letter on a shallow tray full of cornmeal or sand. After the child is familiarized with the letters and the nekudos, he is able to add sound to the letter through the nekudo.
- Printing and Sound Booklets: As the child gradually learns the nekudos, there should be booklets available for corresponding to each nekudo, the booklet should have a picture of the vocabulary for him to recognize the object, there should be enough space for him to print the corresponding word. (in most Montessori materials there should be a control of error so that the child can learn independently).
- Small Objects: By using small physical objects the child is able to grasp the object connecting it with its particular meaning using a control of error card if necessary.
- Large Movable Aleph- beis: The child is able to construct his own words through his own handling of each letter; there are many exercises in which the Large Movable Alef-Beis are used.
There’s a separate set for Hebrew, English and Yiddish.
- Three Part Cards: These are three part cards, one with picture and name that serves as control of error, other with only picture and only name. the child matches the word to the corresponding card. These cards can be used for various exercises throughout the year.