MontessoriMom Education that everyone can do

The Three Period Lesson

Teach your child new concepts and names of objects using this approach.

With slow and deliberate movements show your child 2 of the concepts you wish to teach, such as: big-small, tall-short, wide-narrow, light-heavy, smooth-rough, soft-hard-etc., using the appropriate objects. For example to teach the concept of big and small use a small ball and a big ball.

Step One: Point to the large ball and say slowly and distinctly, “This is big.” Repeat until the child understands the concept. Point to the small ball and say, “This is small.” Again, repeat until your child understands. (recognizes new object, concept, or idea)

Step Two: Ask the child, “Can you give me (or point to) the big one?” “Can you give me (or point to)  the small one?” If your child can do this go to step three, if not, go back to step one. This part helps recognize differences at a concrete level.

Step Three: Point to the object and ask, “Which one is this?” Again if your child has difficulty, go back to step two. ( This part recognizes the differences at an abstract and verbal level)

This is a very positive and non-critical way to teach your child. Use this approach to teaching the name of colors, animals, number symbols, concepts and any idea.


Here is a little more about the three part or three period lesson:

Montessori 3 Part Lesson

Montessori's three period lesson is one of the most important teaching tools in the Montessori Method 

Finally there is the period of complete development in which the capacity to perform some operation is permanently acquired. There are, therefore, three periods: a first, subconscious one, when in the confused mind of the child, order produces itself by a mysterious inner impulse from out the midst of disorder, producing as an external result a completed act, which, however, being outside the field of consciousness, cannot be reproduced at will; a second, conscious period, when there is some action on the part of the will which is present during the process of the development and establishing of the acts; and a third period when the will can direct and cause the acts, thus answering the command from someone else.  (Dr. Maria Montessori)


When I used to take an exam in college, I found multiple choice tests much easier than essay-writing exams. Multiple choice is like the second period lesson where you point out the correct answer, whereas the essay requires the abstract knowledge of the third period lesson. The first period was always the college lecture, "a mysterious inner impulse from the midst of disorder"!



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What is Sensorial Education?


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