Wheaton Montessori News

A Vocabulary Lesson Is So Much More

Categories: For Parents / Grace and Courtesy / Preschool


What began as an individual lesson for Elizabeth, a new Primary student in Mrs. Berdick’s class, quickly included many students in Mrs. Berdick’s class.

Vocabulary Cards: A more systematic approach to introducing and increasing vocabulary while building a relationship between teacher and child.

This vocabulary enrichment lesson has an academic focus.  Here, we see the Primary students learning new “food” words.  Perhaps Elizabeth began by reviewing fruits, learning the names of a few new fruits by adding new cards.  Then vegetables, dairy, etc. can be introduces to help a child learn a broader category: food words.


In this activity, the larger work is growing the relationship between the child, the lesson, and the teacher.  Other children in the classroom are drawn to the interaction between teacher and child.  They love to watch and learn. One child may be included because he or she needed a break.  Another child may have wanted to observe because he knows this lesson is “coming up” for him. Others may be drawn to the lesson because they’ve heard a new word or are getting ready to learn write the labels for these cards for a more advanced lesson.


Note that returning students have similarly-placed hands.  They have their hands in their laps, being careful not to touch the work of the newer students.   They are acting as role models to the younger students on how to observe a lesson, either while waiting to speak with the classroom teacher about your own work or to observe the lesson itself.  One young child in the picture is here for her very first day; she’s modeling the respectful behavior of her peers.  These children are displaying respectful social skills, patience, and interest in their “co-workers.”  This helps establish a classroom culture that supports each child’s development and positive learning habits.