Look Who’s Talking! A Child’s Thirst for Language Development

“Words are your [child’s] best friends. They are bridges of understanding and passages that seed all of humanity.” (Montessori Today, Paula Polk Lillard)

A child thirsts for new language like they thirst for water. They crave new language experiences for many reasons; to be in touch with their surroundings, engaged in their environment, and to communicate with others around them. We want to provide a variety of language opportunities for children, especially between the ages of birth to six years, when the child is in the “sensitive period” for language development.

At HBMH, our community is well equipped with language-rich learning opportunities. We talk to the children and adult with respect, modeling how to interact in a positive, productive way. We model grace and courtesy so the child understands proper social interactions. Every lesson is an opportunity to expand upon the child’s language development.


In Montessori, we discourage talking to a newborn in a “baby voice”. Instead, we carry on conversations and talk to them as if talking to another adult. We share stories with them, and encourage them to respond. We “coo” in response to their little noises to show that their words and noises matter, and that they can communicate their needs through language. Our tone of voice conveys a specific message and emotion. We tell them what we’re going to do before we do it. For instance, “I’m going to pick you up”, or “I’m going to wipe your nose”, and so forth. Continue reading

Book Highlight: You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, Rahima Baldwin Dancy

This week’s theme seems to be the correlation between “learning at school and home”, and how we as parents are truly our children’s first teachers. So, it’s only appropriate that this week’s book of choice be You Are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six, written by Rahima Baldwin Dancy.  This is a great resource to help you guide and support your child’s development in the early stages of their lives. It provides ideas on how you can help support their academic development, inspire their imagination, promote positive discipline, and help prepare them for elementary school and so forth.

You Are Your Child's First Teacher

  • Encouraging Balanced Development
    “The main task of parents as first teachers during the time from twelve to twenty-four months is to encourage a balanced development. Physical development involves practicing new motor skills; emotional development centers around her relationship with her mother, father or other primary caretakers; intellectual development comes primarily through exploring the world around her.” (p. 113)
  • Dealing with Negative Behavior
    “One of the challenges of living with the child…is dealing with the ‘negativism’ that he manifests. If you can recognize your child’s emerging sense of self and power as something positive, you won’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have done something wrong. You can take the adult and parental viewpoint of enjoying your child’s development while providing the guidance he needs.” (p. 117)
  • Encouraging the Development of Language and Understanding
    “Because we cannot really be certain what the child experiences when she contemplates an object, it is best to leave the toddler in peace until there is a natural break in her activities, or she comes to you with something…If we are conscious of the ‘silent language’ of objects, then we can let our human language interact with it harmoniously. For ex., after the child hears the wind rustling in the trees we might say ‘rustling’, letting the child hear in these sounds something of what the rustling tree has first spoken to him.” (p. 121)

Happy reading!