The Montessori classroom is designed around encouraging and developing the language skills of a child. This not only includes reading and writing, but also talking and expressing oneself.
Children are introduced to sandpaper letters early on where they trace their alphabet with their fingers (Maria Montessori believed “Touching the letters and looking at them at the same time fixes their images more quickly because of the cooperation of the senses.”.) The Montessori method advocates lower case, phonetics based learning as this directly promotes reading and writing. Once children are able to sound out the phonetical alphabet, we move onto the pink cards (pictured above) where children blend and form three letter words. Children also complete a small book where they write out the words they have read, developing their writing skills. Reading and writing skills are also developed through the moveable alphabet (pictured above) where children can form words themselves and practice writing them out.
Language is also encouraged by the free expression of the children with other children. We have circle time every day where children can bring something to show and tell to the class. This builds confidence and public speaking skills which is an important skill to develop all the way through adult hood. We have reading time where we sit and read a book and singing time where the children join in songs. Often we find this to be the first time children whose second language is english, really come out of their shell and express themselves through song. Children sit together at meal times and chat amongst themselves while eating which is important for social development as well as language skills. There is also a reading corner where children can take some time to themselves and look through some books – this also turns into a little social area and often we see older children explaining books to the younger ones – a real delight.
Thanks for reading!