• Ranjani R

What are Montessori Nomenclature Cards? & How to use them?

What are Montessori Nomenclature Cards?


Montessori Nomenclature cards or 3-part cards are an effective and brilliant way to introduce new vocabulary or concepts to kids. They are also known as Montessori Classified Cards. They consist of 3 parts:


1) Tne Control Card (Picture + Text)

2) The Object Card (Picture only)

3) The label Card (Text only)


These are usually used with kids aged 3-6 years old, but you can use them for kids outside this age bracket. There is no hard and fast rule. They can be used with children who are not reading yet and are perfect for emergent readers. And can also be used with non-verbal children by pointing you can see if they are understanding.


Classified cards are generic at first and show everyday contemporary things children are familiar with, for instance, food, transport, plants, animals, furniture, and so on.


How to Use 3-part Cards?

  1. First, put the cards in a basket and place them on the shelf, limit the amount to 4-6 cards to start with so the child doesn’t get overwhelmed.

  2. Roll out a mat and then bring the cards to the mat or on the table.

  3. Show the child the cards and start talking about them, ask questions about what is on the cards:

  4. Have you seen…

  5. Do you remember when we tried…

  6. What do you think it smells/tastes/feels like…

  7. When you are ready, take the control cards and from LEFT to RIGHT* place one card down at a time and say

“This is… “ “Can you say…?”

Sometimes the child won’t repeat the word, that is OK for now.

5. With the cards still laid out say:

“Show me…”

This is to check the child's comprehension and memory. Use positive reinforcement when they get it right, if they get it wrong then go through the presentation again with the cards they are getting stuck on.

Do not move on from this stage until the child knows all the cards.

Stages of Use of Classified Cards

Stage 1 - Matching the Images

  • Present the cards, as usual, using the control cards.

  • Then take out the picture cards and match them with the control cards.

  • Continue until all cards are used up.

  • Once the child can match all cards, you can increase the number of cards gradually.

Stage 2 - Matching the Image and the Object

  • Present the cards, as usual, using the control cards.

  • Take out the objects and match the images.

  • Continue until all cards are used up.

  • Once the child can match all cards, you can increase the number of cards gradually.

This uses more developed critical thinking as it is matching a 2D image with a 3D object which might not look the same. You might have a photo of a brown bear but the object is a black bear.


Stage 3 - Matching Control Card with the Label Card


When your child takes interest in letters and reading introduce the label cards.

  • Present the cards, as usual, using the control cards.

  • Pick up the first label card, look at it, use your finger to read it.

  • Then place it under the correct control card.

  • Continue until all the label cards have been used up.

  • Finish by checking that the label card and the control card match.

  • Pick up all the cards and objects, put them in the basket and invite the child to have a go.

Even children who are not yet reading can do this stage as they will start by matching the shapes of the letters. It is a great exercise for emergent readers.


Stage 4 - Matching Object Card with the Label Card


This is the same as stage 3 but this time the child has to be able to read the label card to be able to match it to its object card.

  • Present the cards, as usual, this time using the object cards.

  • Pick up the first label card, look at it, use your finger to read it.

  • Then place it under the correct object card. Deliberately make a mistake and put the wrong label under the object card.

  • Continue until all the label cards have been used up.

  • Now show the child how to check if they got everything correct. Take out the control cards, match the image and then check that the text matches too.

  • If it matches, place the control card under the label card and do the next one.

  • When you get to one that is wrong, take the label card away.

  • Once all the correct label cards are down, try and match the leftover (incorrect) label cards again, then check your work again. Showing the child how they can check their own work.

To wrap up, if you wondering whether Montessori 3 part cards are worth their price, the answer is YES! The kids can learn so much from these cards and they are so versatile.



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