In the center of the language area of the Primary classroom sits the The Farm. It can resemble the 1960s classic Fisher Price Family Play Farm which features characters you would expect to see in a self-contained barn: farmers, tractors, fences, horses, chickens, cows, and more. But in a Montessori classroom this is so much more than a game. When used with the grammar box, it’s a sensorial impression of the function of words.
Older children in the Primary classroom have the opportunity to read known words and understand the position and function of grammar working with The Farm, at the same time being prepared for creative writing.
Younger children, well, they’re simply attracted to the material, as it likely resembles toys they have at home. It helps develop language skills through holding and saying the names of objects. As children get older, sounds are introduced.
For third-year students, The Farm lesson introduces articles, adjectives, and nouns.
During a lesson, the teacher will write a word on a strip of paper, in cursive, and invite the child to go retrieve that item from the Farm. The child may read, “the horse”, “the pig”, “the cow”. When the child returns the teacher will say, “Oh yes that is the pig. However I want this one.” The teacher will write “the pig big”. The child will return with the big pig. The teacher will then say, “Which word told you what I wanted? Which word told you how many? Which word told you what kind?” The child will answer. Then the teacher will question the order of the words.
“Is this how we would say it in English?” No. So the child gets to use scissors to separate the words and reposition them to make it sound like English. The child will then be introduced to three triangles varying in size and color. These are the grammar symbols for the Noun Family: article (light blue triangle), adjective (medium blue triangle), noun (large black triangle). The child will than place the triangles above the words they represent.
The direct aim of the Farm is to make the child aware of the individual words in reading and particularly the function of the position of adjectives. The Farm acknowledges that a child at this age is able and ready to work with the concepts of grammar.