language: reading and writing program
Our authentic Montessori program uses a distinct set of practices that nurture a positive, natural learning experience to teach reading and writing thoughtfully, building the many elements one by one. Activities teach language, help children acquire vocabulary, and develop skills needed for writing and reading.
The ability to write, a precursor to reading, is taught first. Using hands-on materials, children learn letter sounds, how to combine sounds to make words, how to build sentences, and how to use a pencil. Once these skills are acquired, children spontaneously learn to read. In addition to our vast Montessori curriculum, students also work with the Orton-Gillingham ‘Go Phonics’ reading series which is sequential, multi-sensory and compliments our Montessori based curriculum.
"The development of language is part of the development of the personality, for words are the natural means of expressing thoughts and establishing understanding between people."
— Dr Maria Montessori
toddler years (ages 18 mo-3 yrs)
Language activities are developing at a rapid rate during the toddler years. Naming cards and matching introduce foundations for alphabet and language. Stories, finger plays, singing, and spontaneous conversation time encourage both social and language skills. Sandpaper letters help the child learn the phonetics of the alphabet. Daily exposure to language through conversations and the reading of good literature helps the child strengthen their vocabulary and increases independence as they become more cognizant of the world around them. Your child becomes happier as they learn the words to express their needs, rather than needing to resort to crying or tantrums.
primary years (ages 3-6 yrs)
The Montessori primary classroom emphasizes spoken language as the foundation for all linguistic expression. The child is encouraged to become increasingly independent and to become an active participant in the learning process. Children hear and use precise vocabulary for all the activities and are encouraged to converse with peers and staff. Reading is taught phonetically as the child is ready and handwriting is practiced. The concrete materials, from the sandpaper letters to the beginning of sentence analysis, allow children to take small, logical, sequential steps to independent, fluent reading. Language work leads to cultural subjects, extending the child's vocabulary and working with the child's fascination with her environment.
kindergarten (ages 5-6 yrs)
With a firm foundation in the phonetic Montessori Language curriculum, our Kindergarten students continue to build their reading skills. Varied exercises introduce consonant blends, double and long vowel sounds, as well as many common phonograms and sight words, expanding the reader’s vocabulary. Daily lessons strengthen the student’s word attack and blending skills, as they become more fluent, competent readers. Parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, and verbs) are introduced through fun and engaging activities to stimulate interest.
Using the Montessori metal insets and supplemental activities, the children continue to develop good writing habits. By using a multi-sensory approach, the children enjoy learning to form letters and numbers neatly and consistently. In the Kindergarten year, good handwriting habits are well established, enabling the children to be clearly understood in journaling, school work assignments, and creative writing.
language progression demonstrated
A child’s first experience with language in a Montessori classroom might be card or object matching. It is here we begin training the eye for reading by placing cards out on a work rug, from left to right. The child’s language journey truly begins by playing oral language games like I Spy or testing their auditory skills by listening to words on a picture that rhyme.
After many beginning sound lessons the child is ready to transition to ending sounds. This child is continuing to use their auditory sense to hear the isolated ending sound when working beside a teacher. The child may use objects and pictures when working independently. Once we feel the child is successful in isolating the sound the same process is completed working with middle sounds.
As a child’s interest grows we may peek their curiosity with a sound lesson. It is here where Maria Montessori’s sandpaper letters are introduced. This child is using their kinesthetic, visual and auditory sense to feel, see and hear the sound the letter makes. This phonemic approach tastefully describes what Maria Montessori once wrote, “What the hand does the mind remembers.”
Once mastery of many of the 26 sound symbol combinations is nearing, word building is up next. When all the steps we have mentioned prior comes together for the child; the beauty begins. The child will use an object or picture to break down the word into parts and locate its appropriate letter from the movable alphabet.