Language & Literacy
The Montessori preschool Language programme is a complete literacy programme for children ages 2.5-6. The programme begins with storytelling, sound games with objects and eventually children are introduced to grammar by age 6. The reading and writing materials are didactic in nature as children are able to practice the materials on their own in a cozy reading or writing nook. The Language curriculum is phonetic in nature and utilises games and powerful teaching tools to help children learn to decode phonetic words, high frequency/sight words and digraphs. It is powerful in promoting early reading and writing skills using a variety of games and activities.
Dr. Maria Montessori realised that there is a sensitive period of language development and that the richer the learning environment, the more beneficial for the acquisition of a child’s skills and love of reading and writing.
The Montessori classroom is designed in such a way that all activities gear themselves naturally toward the development of the skills required for oral and written language and reading. Language development is also encouraged in the classroom because of the freedom of conversation allowed to the children.
In the Montessori environment, encouragement of self expression is fostered through communication between children and their peers and children and adults.
In the Language area of the environment, vocabulary is enriched in a number of ways. Precise names are used for all of the objects and apparatus. Vocabulary classification and matching exercises develop visual perception, enrich vocabulary development and develop the left to right movement.
A child will continue to progress at their own pace through the reading program; concrete concepts lead to abstract ones. A child in the Montessori classroom develops a sense of wonder at his own powers and this wonder becomes a motivating force toward further acquisitions.
The Journey to Reading
One of the core Montessori materials, Sandpaper Letters, plays an important role in helping children to learn their phonetic sounds. Each letter is on an individual wooden base and is formed using sandpaper, giving the child a visual, audible and tactile experience. Given that words are mostly composed of lower case letters, we present them as such. Lower case letters are more challenging to form when writing and children therefore gain a solid foundation for their reading and writing development. Upper case letters are introduced to the child later in the programme.