Montessori Thoughts

Using Montessori 3-Part-Cards

I’ve been wanting to share some basic information about Montessori “3-Part-Cards.”

Perhaps you are already familiar with these, and you have a good collection of them, and you’ve figured out a great way to organize and store them.  If that’s the case, please leave me a comment below and share your wisdom!

If this language material is new to you, then read on, because this material is a great trick to have up your sleeve.  You can find free down-loads to try at home; I particularly like the ones made by MontessoriForEveryone.

3-Part-Cards are images printed on paper or card-stock.  Laminating them helps keep them in great condition, so I have laminated most of mine.  Every image will be included twice in a set of cards, and beneath the image will be a label.  On one of the images, the label is cut apart and set aside.  (Before presenting any Montessori material, I encourage you to read my post on How To Give A Montessori Presentation.)

There are two basic ways to use the cards, depending upon the ability of the child.  The initial, simple way is to match the pictures and place them side-by-side.  Then, if the child wants to, she can also match the labels.  As she works with the labels, you can point to the word and read it to her (regardless of her reading ability.)  Teach the child how to put the cards away correctly.


The more advanced method is to do the same process basically in reverse.  First, the child puts out all of the unlabeled images on a table, and then tries to place a label beneath each image.  Finally, he checks his own work by matching up the labeled images and looking to see if the labels match, or not.  When you observe a child engaged in this process, you understand why it is so effective, and you begin to think about all the ways that this type of activity can help a child learn new vocabulary in every subject.  This music set below, purchased from MontessoriForEveryone, also includes a definition card to match to each set.


It is so effective for individuals to be able to check their own work.  The point is never to “get them all right.”  The point is to understand the meaning of the words.  If only all teachers could understand this difference.

Over the years, I have amassed dozens of sets of 3-part-cards, and I have tried many different ways to store and organize them.  I currently have most of them in labeled drawers.  When I want to introduce a new set to a child, I place the cards into one of the holders I made a few years ago, using my meager sewing skills, some stiff fabric, and some clear plastic sheets I purchased at HobbyLobby.  I have seen many styles of holders, including some made completely of soft, beautiful fabric.  Many have velcro closures sewn in to keep cards from falling out.  I chose to use the plastic fronts so that the cards could be visible, and I made several in different sizes.  It was frustrating for an amateur seamstress like me; my machine did not enjoy the stiffness of these materials.  They turned out wonderfully useful, however:



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