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Montessori in a Minute: Three-Part Cards

The Three-Part Cards, also known as Nomenclature Cards, are used in Primary and Lower Elementary classrooms to help students grow in identifying the world around them. Used for language development, each set of cards contains three parts: One card is the control set, while the second and third cards are called the working set.


The control is one card with a picture and its corresponding label printed on the front of it. The working set contains one photo card only with the image from the control set and another with the corresponding label written out.


For example, if a child looks at a set of cards representing an apple, the control set card has a photo of an apple with the word “apple” printed beneath it. The working set contains a card with a photo of the apple and another with the word “apple.”


Teachers present these cards after children are given a lesson, spanning many topics from shapes and zoology to the solar system and botany.



The Nomenclature Cards are a vital tool for pre-readers and new readers. Around age three, children begin to understand that objects and pictures can be represented with written language. These cards offer children a way to explore this newfound connection.


The act of sorting, moving, and matching the cards gives children a physical and sensorial experience while learning the material. This seemingly simple activity keeps students engaged with concepts that the class studies as a group and builds their personal vocabulary.


Montessori schools like Hudson Montessori School utilize specially designed tools like the Three-Part Cards to promote experiential and sensorial learning that students can repeatedly practice at each age level. Often, these tools are self-correcting, allowing the child to check their work and adjust accordingly. This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of these fundamental materials.

To learn more about Hudson Montessori School’s interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children age 2 to sixth grade, sign up for an open house tour most Tuesdays at 9 a.m.




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