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Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts (Free Printable)

The Montessori three period lesson approach to teaching kiddos is well known to those who use the Montessori Method.  We have found it to be extremely beneficial for our kiddos with special needs, especially when using the visual prompts below.
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The way in which a lesson is taught using Montessori principles has many benefits for those with special needs.
  • Lessons are presented using a multi-sensory approach.
  • Minimal verbal communication is encouraged.
  • Instruction is given in small groups or one-to-one setting.

The lessons are well received for the most part in our homeschooling environment.  However, we have encountered a few challenges along the way.  Princess and Sunshine do not do well with instruction from adults in general due to Reactive Attachment Disorder.  So functioning and participating appropriately is a challenge.

Bulldozer and Sunshine struggle with focus during a lesson and often become distracted.  Their thoughts often wander.  At times this results in them not focusing on the initial presentation.

Then there's the fact that our kiddos have a hard time waiting their turn to use materials. They can become extremely impatient while I am demonstrating how to complete work because they just want to dive in.  When it is their turn, they're not quite sure what to do because what I ask varies between having them show me how to complete the task, or asking them questions.

All of these challenges led me to create the Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts.  These cards are used as visual reminders for the kiddos as I'm presenting lessons. 

Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts

1.  THIS IS...

The first card corresponds to the first period of the lesson.  It is a picture of a finger pointing to the teacher.  This is a visual reminder to the child that it's the teacher's turn to present the material.  Cards that point both ways are included in the printable for when teachers need to sit on the left and right sides of students, depending on whether the child is left- or right-hand dominant.

2. SHOW ME...

The second card corresponds with the second period of the lesson.  It is a picture of a finger pointing towards the child.  This is a visual reminder to the child that it's her turn to complete the work.  She may now touch and use materials appropriately.

3.  WHAT IS...

The third card corresponds with the third period of the lesson where the teacher asks the child questions.  It is a picture of a person thinking, surrounded by question marks. This is a visual reminder to the child that the teacher is going to ask a question and she will then answer.  It reminds the child to listen well, so she can pick out key question words, and answer correctly.

Since implementing these visual prompts, the kiddos' ability to function and make it through lessons has improved significantly.  I'm not being interrupted. The kiddos know to keep their hands off materials, until I'm finished.  Best of all they're better prepared for the third part of the lesson which includes questions.

This printable is a subscribers only freebie in conjunction with the release of my new book The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs.  You can now purchase this book in paperback and ebook forms by visiting my shop today!

If you'd like to receive your free copy of the Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts, subscribe to my newsletter today!  If you are already a subscriber, the link to the printable will be included in all future newsletters.


  1. Isn't the three period lesson just great? :) We use it a lot for teaching my son new vocabulary in English. It works so well!

  2. One of our favorite lessons in the preschool years.

  3. This is great! I was just thinking I needed a visual prompt like this to help Little Bee and I. Thank you!