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How Do I Handle New Children Coming into Spanish Once the Year Has Already Begun?


Preschool and Early Childhood

To know how to handle a situation where a new student joins the classroom midway into the year, the teacher must understand how the Montessori Spanish Curriculum works:

  1. It is a three year spiral curriculum. All children sit in on the Large Group Lesson that is introduced once a week. These lessons serve as an introduction for ‘First Year’ children and as a review for ‘Second’ and ‘Third Year’ children.
  2. After the Large Group Lesson, the teacher can give smaller lessons to ‘Second’ and then ‘Third Year’ Spanish students. These lessons use more challenging grammar concepts and broader vocabulary.

The three year Montessori Spanish Curriculum can but may not necessarily correspond to the child’s three year Montessori curriculum or to the child’s age.

For example, a child may transfer to a new Montessori school at the age of 4. When she arrives at her new school it becomes quickly apparent that she should be considered a ‘Second Year’ student. She is introduced to second year work in the class. However, she never had Spanish lessons at her previous Montessori school. So even though she would be considered a ‘Second Year’ student in the Montessori classroom, she really is a ‘First Year’ Spanish student.

As a ‘First Year’ Spanish student she must still learn the core vocabulary in the Montessori Spanish curriculum. This is done through songs and Matching Work introduced in the Large Group Lesson. The best thing to do is have the new child sit in on the Large Group Lesson. She will quickly learn the opening and closing songs since these are repetitive and she will be introduced to the core vocabulary of the present theme. She may then begin working with the Matching Work in that theme and then progress to the next theme with all the ‘First Year’ Spanish students.

In the beginning of the following year she will be able to sit in on the lessons she missed the previous year. So it may not be until some months into the following year that the child has mastered all the Matching Work and core vocabulary. At that point she may join the ‘Second Year’ Spanish students as they are introduced to the Three-Part cards in a particular theme.

Of course, the above is a suggestion and every child is different. You may have a child that learns the core vocabulary and Matching Work quickly and is ready to move on to something else before the next theme is introduced. In that case, you may wish to give the child an individual lesson using Three-Part cards in the present theme. Or, if the child is already 5 or 6 years of age and the Matching Work is just not challenging enough, you may have him sit in on the ‘Second’ or ‘Third’ year lessons along with the Large Group Lesson.


The Montessori Spanish Elementary Habla Sentence Work teaches Spanish in a child-centered and individualized manner. The manual is a framework of how and when to introduce grammar concepts. Each child moves at the pace comfortable for him. You can create individualized Work Guides with the templates provided. This makes it very easy when a new child joins the class. She is given her own lesson beginning with the first grammar concept. Older children who have studied Spanish longer can help younger ones learn.

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