How To Use Classified Cards
You're interested in using our printable Montessori classified cards, but with so many other Montessori materials to choose from, you're wondering how useful they'll be. The importance of Montessori Classified Cards is often overlooked. Classified cards can follow the child for their full three years in the Casa (primary) and can be used for vocabulary, classification, reading, writing, culture, geography, and art. How many Montessori materials are that versatile?
We carry a large selection of classified cards, and we often get questions from customers on exactly how to use them. So, we'll tackle the ins and outs of classified cards and help you help your students make better use of them.
Classified cards are designed in a 3-part series: one picture card with a label, one without a label, and one label.
We use the Classified Cards because they are meant to be a 'key' to the child. They help the child better understand their environment, the world, and where things fit in. There are many (most often too many) objects that could be included in each card set.
The direct purpose of Classified Cards is to enrich and enlarge a child's vocabulary and aid in classifying the environment. This is typically done with up to 12 cards per set. You can rotate cards if you have a larger selection per set. However, that can interfere with the cards' indirect purpose, which is preparation for further studies. The cards are meant to give a small introduction to the child; it piques their curiosity, and they are then internally driven to find out which other objects belong within the classification.
Seven ways a set of classified cards can be used for a child's three years in the primary classroom
1) The picture cards (without labels) are used with very young children (2-3 years of age) to enrich their language. Show them a picture, and using clear and crisp speech, say the picture's name - then ask them to repeat the word.
2) The picture cards with labels are used for a child who is beginning to read (3-4 years of age). You can use these cards in small groups to play games like "I Spy." This will help children to make connections between letters and sounds. i.e.) Using pictures of woodland animals - "I spy with my little eye an animal that starts with the sound 'buh' ..... can anyone show me an animal that starts with the sound 'buh'?" (bear)
3) The picture cards without the labels and the labels themselves, are used for children who are reading (4-5 years of age). At this stage, the child is very familiar with the names of the objects and their classifications as they've been exposed to them for over two years. Now, The point is to read the labels and match them to the objects they are already familiar with - it's a reading lesson. They read the labels, match them to the correct pictures, and use the labeled picture cards to check their work (in Montessori, we refer to these cards as "control cards").
4) Classified Cards can be used for printing practice, vocabulary cards, and spelling practice. Often, a child will start making mini-projects at the age of 5-6 years. They learn to gather all the information they have been absorbing and inquiring about and present it on a project board, in lap books, or note-booking.
5) Classified Cards are helpful for introducing children to various cultures. The difficulty here is finding cards that are in your language unless, of course, you're teaching a second language at the same time. We have a large variety of 3-part cards in our Geography section that introduce children to each continent's animals, food, landmarks, and musical instruments. These cards are an excellent way to expose children to the greatness and variety within our world.
6) Just as the cards are used for introducing various cultures, they too can open doors to learning about the geography of our world. It's interesting to see how different cultures dress, eat, and live according to location.
7) As children explore and understand the world and its classifications, they often enjoy drawing pictures or making models (with clay, papier-mâché, etc.). Their exposure to photographic picture cards, images (educational videos), and hopefully the real thing (visiting museums, zoos, field trips, etc.) will help them to solidify the concepts, images, connections, and classifications in their mind and then use their hands (through art) to express and enjoy what they have learned.
As you can now see, classified cards offer the children years of use! Don't pack them away or let them collect dust on your shelves. Instead, consider incorporating them back into an older child's education. They will look at them with new eyes as their understanding and perception of the world has grown.