Montessori Nomenclature Cards, often referred to as 3-part cards, are a learning tool frequently used in Montessori education to introduce vocabulary and concepts to students across a range of subjects, such as science, social studies, language, and art.
The term “nomenclature” comes from the Latin “nomenclatura,” which means assigning of names to things. Consistent with this, nomenclature cards are used to help children learn and internalize the names and characteristics of various objects or concepts.
This pre-reading Montessori language activity involves simple nomenclature cards. The work can be done with an image-to-image with a label or an image with a label to image and then to label.
Montessori Nomenclature Cards typically contain three parts:
- Picture Card (also called the whole card): This card has an image and a label. For instance, if the set is about parts of a tree, one picture card might have an image of a tree with the label “tree.”
- Label Card: This card has only the name or label. For the tree example, this card might have just the word “tree.”
- Control Card (also called the control of error): This card has the same image as the picture card, but it also includes additional information or a description of the object or concept. For the tree example, the control card might describe what a tree is, what it does, and its importance to the ecosystem.
I will show images of both approaches. Be sure to check out other Montessori Language Lessons.
The above image shows an image with a label to image and then to label.
The above image shows image to image and then label.
Simple Nomenclature Cards
- Place pictures (with labels) in a horizontal row at the top of the mat.
- Discuss the cards, the images, and the names.
- Select cards with pictures only.
- With the picture-only card, scan the pictures with labels until a match is found.
- Select word labels.
- Scan pictures with labels until a match is found
- Place word under picture.
- Once complete, place pictures with labels in the tray, then pictures only in the tray, then word labels in the tray.
- Return to shelf.
Montessori Pre-Reading lessons introduce children to the basics of reading and writing: left to right, logic, and so on. The beginnings of reading comprehension happen at this stage. Kids learn problem-solving and logical sequencing. They learn how to tell stories and why storytelling matters.