How is language aquired using the Montessori method? It begins at birth with the conversation, reading books, singing songs, describing the environment, and participating in social interactions.
Starting at age 3, children are ready to develop language through a systematic method. Through a series of works, children develop phonetic awareness. They learn that letters are symbols that have sounds. Therefore, Dr. Montessori developed materials to aid children, while in their sensitive period for language, learn the letters sounds using sensorial materials.
Around age 2.5, children are able to use sandpaper letters to develop muscular memory while tracing sandpaper letters glued on a board. Children being in a sensitive period for small objects (meaning that they notice every small details around them), small objects can be used to help children associate beginning sounds to objects. For example, we can provide children with several objects beginning with the sound “a,” and have them match them to the Sandpaper Letter “a.” Later, children can work with two or three letters together and match a series of objects to their respective Sandpaper Letters. For example, children would work with letter “s,” “m,” and “a.” They would have a group of objects beginning with the same sounds, and match each object by saying the name of the object, and by placing it near the sandpaper letter.
Later, children around age 4 can continue to use this phonetic knowledge by building their own words using the Movable Alphabet. The consonants are represented in red, while the vowels are represented in blue. They can use the Pink Series to match pictures to words and model the words spelling using the Movable Alphabet.
The alphabet roll, as seen in this post, is not a classic Montessori material, but it can serve as an extension work for children to expand or maintain their knowledge in an amusing manner.
The alphabet roll can be used creatively, based on the children’s needs. For instance, it can be used to match the Movable Alphabet to the outlined letters on the roll, perfect for spatial discrimination. Also, small objects can be matched to each letter. Children can match uppercase letters or cursive letters to lowercase print letters.
There are a variety of ways to work with letter awareness and to develop early literacy skills using the Montessori method. I hope you enjoyed learning about early language development. The alphabet roll is handmade, but can be found at Montessori specialized stores. The Movable Alphabet boxes are from Alison’s Montessori.
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