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Montessori inspired 3-part cards.



3--part cards (or nomenclature cards as they are also called) are fantastic for so many reasons but, what I love about them most is that they can be used by children of all ages at a level that suits them individually. This makes 3-part-cards perfect for a mixed ability classroom, a homeschooling family or a single child that will be able to use the cards in different ways as they learn new skills.

So, I wanted to explain how we use 3-part cards to teach vocabulary. The cards I have pictured throughout the post are from our wild animal set (which can be downloaded free here) but cards can be based on any subject.


Stage 1 Identify

Choose 3 or 4 control cards, for very young children you may want to use just 2 and for older ones try 5 or 6.

Introduce each card one at a time, saying the name of the object as you lay it down on the table. For example - zebra.

Get your learner to repeat the name after you.

Repeat this until all of your chosen control cards are laid on the table.


Pointing at each card, in the order that you laid them down repeat the names of the objects ensuring your learner says the name after you.

Check how much your learner has understood by asking them to show you one of the objects. For example- show me the tiger.

Repeat this for all of the objects.

If a child is unable to point to the correct object simply point to the right one and repeat the name. Making mistakes and not understanding yet are all part of the learning process and it is important that your learner doesn't view this negatively.

Stage 2 Recognise

Lay the chosen cards out on the table, saying the name of the object as you do so and requesting your learner to repeat the name after you.

Ask your learner to show you one of the objects. For example- show me the monkey.

Repeat this for all of the objects.

Point to an area of the table and ask your learner to put an object there. For example, put the zebra here.

Use variations of this type of request for example, put the tiger under the zebra, put the monkey on the chair ( ensure that you only use additional vocabulary that the child already knows) . Making it fun helps make the words more memorable.

Continue in this manner until you are confident that the learner can recognise the names for all of the objects.

Stage 3 Recall

Lay your chosen cards out one by one, silently.

Point to the first object and ask your learner 'what is this?'

Repeat this for all of the objects.

If the learner makes a mistake simply say the correct answer and move on.

If the child is unable to recall some of the object names go back and repeat stage 2 and then try stage 3 again once you feel the learner is ready.


Once the learner is able to recall the name of each object introduce the name and object cards.

Demonstrate adding the correct name card to the object card and then checking it against the control card.

For readers and emerging readers, lay the object cards on the table and ask the learner to label them. The learner can check their answers by using the control cards.

For non-readers, lay the the object cards on the table and reading the name on the label ask the learner to add it to the right object card. repeat until all the labels have been added. The learner can visually check their answers.


For very young children simply get them to try and match real objects to the control cards.

Repeat the whole process with the remaining cards

It will take several sessions to go through the entire set of cards. How long it takes exactly depends on the learner, their ability and their enthusiasm. As a guide, when using the cards to teach English to non native speakers I split the 3 stages into 3 separate sessions and use each one as a short activity withing the lesson.

#montessori #3partcards #wildanimalcards #teachingEnglish #freeprintables

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