Montessori Preschool Vocabulary

A “Survival” Guide for Parents

During the first weeks of school new students will be given lessons daily, many focusing on the classroom rules (rolling and unrolling mats) and basic Practical Life and Sensorial activities.  Returning students will spend time explores the classroom but will quickly seek out work they began in June.

Lessons given during the first days of school and the vocabulary we use so you can discuss it with your child.  In the beginning it is difficult for some children to articulate what they did throughout the day.

Water pouring
Pink Tower
Inside voices/outside voices
Glue, art mat
Clipboard, paper, pencil

Here is a list of a few of the Montessori classroom terms you child may use throughout the year.

Circle Time:  These are daily gatherings in which the whole class come together.  This time might include the calendar, singing, stories, group lessons or problem solving activities.  It takes place at transition times such as the beginning and/or the end of the session.

Activity or Work:  A defined activity or set of activities intended to be done with learning material or set of materials.  Usually includes direct or indirect objectives, points of interest, control of error variations and extensions.  The preschool classroom consists of mostly one or two person works.

Lesson:  An educational event or series of events usually involving some direct instruction by a teacher.  A lesson is most often one-on-one with the teacher and a student.  Once a child has had a lesson, they may return to that work at any time it is available.  As new activities are placed on the shelf they will learn to as a teacher for a “lesson.”

Folders:  This is a place in the classroom where students keep their paperwork.  The folder will then be sent home with your child.  Teachers may also use the folder to send home important notices.  Please check it daily for important information and for your child’s treasured works.

Observer:  A student may like to watch another student work on a activity.  Many students learn by observing and watching other work.  With concentration being one of our main goals, the observer needs to be willing and able to watch without talking or touching their friends work.

Snack:  Snack is an activity available on the table.  Your child will have a lesson on snack preparation and will then be able to prepare and serve themselves sometime during the morning.  It’s not unusual for a child to tell you snack is their favorite activity.

Mats:  All activities or works, unless it is a written work are done on a mat.  This defines the students work space.  If the work is done on the carpet, the student uses a “floor mat.”  On a table, it is called a “table mat” and an “art mat” for art activities.  The children quickly learn to respect another friends work space.