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How To Use Montessori Nomenclature

What is Montessori Nomenclature? Why do you use it? How do you use it?

There is nothing to be afraid of …. Montessori nomenclature is fun, educational and easy to use. It’s so easy that you can learn by using it right alongside your students.

What is Montessori Nomenclature? 
Nomenclature cards and booklets identify and name the various parts of the object or animal you are learning about. Each part is isolated in color which draws your attention to that particular part and not to superfluous details. The Nomenclature available in our store is available in red accents and color accents. The red and color accents are further divided into 3 categories: Botany, Zoology, Other (health, science, etc).

Sample of BotanyBotany Nomenclature Sample
Sample of ZoologyZoology Nomenclature Sample

Sample of Other

Other Nomenclature Sample

Some Montessori schools use a 5-part card format.

Part 1 – Card with label, Card without label, labelNomenclature part 1

Part 2 – Book

Nomenclature part 2

Part 3 – Picture Cards and Descriptions CardsNomenclature part 3

Part 4 – Description Cards (with a blank) and LabelsNomenclature part 4

Part 5 – Definition Strips

Nomenclature part 5

We’ve found that most Primary classrooms prefer the 3-part format. There are fewer pieces involved (fewer pieces to get lost), and it’s less complicated for the younger children (3-6 years) to manage.

Our 3-Part Cards consist of 1 set of cards with labels, 1 set of cards without labels, 1 set of labels, 1 black-line master. Each part is shown in color. This helps to isolate the exact part that is being taught.

Ladybug Nomenclature Cards

The Booklet (can also be used in card format) has 1 set of labeled picture cards, 1 set of definition cards.

Ladybug Nomenclature Book

Why do we use Nomenclature? 
Children gain a much clearer and deeper understanding of our world when they have vocabulary to put with movements and images. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but add a label and now you’re talking! From a very young age children ask what things are called. Think back to when your young toddler began to understand the value of words. He said ‘wa-wa’ (water), and the look of comprehension and pure pleasure in your eyes was enough for them to chant the same word over, and over, and over again – even after you made sure they had their fill of water. Finally they remembered what it was called, knew how to ask for it (albeit they needed time to work on their pronunciation), and they were understood. What a glorious day. Nomenclature cards are used for the same purpose – to name “parts of” things.

How do we use Nomenclature?
The first part, the 3-Part Cards, are primarily used the same as way as we use Classified Cards. There are many formats used to introduce terminology to young children. We prefer the following format for teaching nomenclature.

Step 1. The terminology is introduced using the cards without the labels (typically 3 cards at time). i.e. Lay down the first card – “This is a ladybug.”  Lay down the second card – “This is the elytra.” Lay down the third card – “These are the spots.”

ladybug cards 1  ladybug cards 2   ladybug cards 3

Step 2. You can mix the cards up on the work space (table or mat), and now ask the child to point to the parts you ask for. Example: “Can you show me the spots?”. “Can you place the ladybug in my hand.” “Show me the elytra”. “Can you place the ladybug beside the spots?”, etc.  Mix the cards up and …  Read entire lesson presentation