Language in Montessori Essay Example
Language in Montessori Essay Example

Language in Montessori Essay Example

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The Montessori classroom implements the phonics approach in its reading instruction, focusing on the graded phonics sequence and necessary reading skills at each stage. According to source 3, "Language is at the core of civilization's transformation of the environment." Source 4 also emphasizes that language enables understanding speech, expressing thoughts and feelings, and facilitates cooperation and problem-solving among humans through communication. Written and oral language are how each generation passes their wisdom to the next. Essentially, language evolves alongside human thinking and is an inherent aspect of our inclination to communicate with others.

According to Montessori, talking is a natural form of human communication. Language is crucial for communication and allows the expression of powerful ideas. The evolution of human language began with pictograms and drawings as a means of communication. Reading i


nvolves interpreting ideas through symbols or graphics. Children start reading when they receive ideas from written words. Over time, pictures transformed into ideograms and eventually into letter-based words. Vowels also emerged, with each symbol representing a specific sound. Language differentiates and unites communities, bringing people of diverse races together through a shared language. The sensitive period for language development occurs during the first six years of life.

The sensibility mentioned here is fleeting and cannot be regained once it is lost. The child's ability to express themselves with explosive moments and intense language continues even after the age of two. However, a new stage in language development begins around two and a half years old, which marks the boundary of a person's mental growth. During this stage, the language organization progresses without explosive moments, allowing the child to learn many new words

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and improve their sentence structure. By six years old, a child has mastered correct speaking according to the rules of their native language. Additionally, reading and writing skills develop simultaneously.

Montessori suggests that young children often exhibit a sudden surge of interest in writing before they learn to read. This phenomenon is attributed to the early development of their sensory awareness. Through sensorial exercises, the child's ability to manipulate a pencil is prepared, while tactile exercises refine their sense of touch. Furthermore, their eye-hand coordination is trained to enhance their writing skills. These preparations for writing indirectly improve the senses of touch, sight, and sound (Source1). In Montessori education, language proficiency is fostered through a phonics curriculum.

Starting with learning the sounds of letters and connecting them to objects, children progress to using a movable alphabet for constructing basic words, marking the beginning of their reading journey. This stage plays a vital role in their cultural development, emphasizing the need for proper language instruction from an early age. Developing reading comprehension and accurate writing skills encompassing grammar, spelling, and vocabulary is crucial for children's success. To enhance handwriting skills, specific exercises are designed that also provide essential information for the child to record.

In the Montessori setting, language plays a significant role as an empowering skill. The directress, as a pivotal figure, has the ability to encourage children to achieve high levels of verbal and written expression. According to source 5, during various exercises, the teacher associates a word with a specific quality to help the child understand and remember it. Language is integrated throughout the Montessori curriculum, including Sensorial, Practical life, and Math lessons.

It is worth mentioning that the sensitive period for language is the longest among all skills, as learning new vocabulary is an ongoing process.

Language acquisition plays a crucial role in acquiring social graces, as it imparts politeness and effective communication skills. It also instills a sense of purpose in children. Source 5 highlights that the mastery of written language involves distinct paths for the mind and hand. Phonics-based materials are instrumental in facilitating natural progress in writing and reading for children. Language development is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum, which comprises three key areas: Speaking, Writing, and Reading.

Between the ages of 2 to 6, children naturally develop speech and have an "absorbent mind" that makes them highly receptive to language. They retain sounds they hear but store the information randomly in different parts of their mind. At around age 2, there is a surge in actual speech and language development in their native language. The Montessori reading program is based on phonetic sounds associated with alphabet letters. Children progress from learning single letter sounds (such as "s") to more complex combinations called "phonograms." By using sandpaper letters, children can learn to read phonetic words by sounding out each letter according to what they learned. Dr Montessori referred to sandpaper letters as: "

The sandpaper letters play a crucial role in the child's early literacy development. This activity allows the child to engage their senses of sight, touch, and sound while learning the letters. By touching and recognizing the letters, the child simultaneously practices writing and reading. The repetition of this exercise helps the child remember the shape and sound of each

letter, preparing them for handwriting in the future.

Once the child has mastered the letter sounds and shapes with the sandpaper letters, they can move on to the next exercise called Movable Alphabets. This set includes 155 movable alphabets, with 10 pieces of each vowel in blue and 5 pieces of each consonant in red. With these alphabets, the child can construct words and even simple sentences, further expanding their literacy skills.

The Movable Alphabets are used in conjunction with the pink, blue, and green schemes to teach three letter words, such as bed, lid, and pan. The teacher pronounces the words slowly, emphasizing each sound (b...e...d). The child chooses the letter that represents the first sound, then the second and third sounds. Once the child is comfortable with constructing words, they are introduced to the pink boxes, which contain objects and corresponding three letter phonetic word cards. As they advance, they transition to using pictures and word cards.

The child can progress to longer words and sentences in the reading scheme. The first level, known as the "Pink Scheme", involves reading phonetic words with three letters or less. The next level, called the "Blue Scheme", focuses on reading phonetic words with four or more letters. The final level, the "Green Scheme", involves reading words with phonograms. In the Pink Scheme, a child will learn the sounds of the 26 alphabets through sandpaper letters. They will then learn to blend two to three lettered phonetically sounded words, such as 'cat', 'mat', 'dog', and 'pup'. Sight words like 'the' and 'a' will also be introduced. Once the child masters these types of words, they will progress to

reading sentences and booklets with three lettered phonetic words. The Large Movable Alphabets (LMA) will be used to build words by blending individual sounds together, aiding in spelling skills. In the Blue Scheme, children who have mastered the Pink Scheme will blend four, five, and six lettered phonetically sounded words together.

Children will be introduced to words like 'rock' and will progress to reading sentences and booklets containing words with 4, 5, or 6 letters that are sounded phonetically. They will continue to work with the LMA to blend individual sounds and build words. Towards the end of the blue scheme, children will also learn simple grammar concepts such as "Singular" and "Plural". The green scheme marks the final stage of the Montessori English curriculum, where children learn about phonograms, including 'oo', 'ee', 'ie', and more.

Phonograms are two-vowel words that children learn, such as 'rain', 'train', and 'book'. Once they have mastered these words, they move on to reading sentences and booklets that contain phonograms. They use the Small Movable Alphabet (SMA) to build words by blending phonograms with other letters that have phonetic sounds. Towards the end of this program, they will be introduced to comprehension, composition, grammar, and vocabulary. The insets in a Montessori classroom are the initial preparation for handwriting.

The metal insets are crucial materials for teaching fundamental handwriting habits that will stick with a child throughout their life. According to source 2, these insets help the child in learning how to organize their writing movements, leading them to effectively use a pen. Before introducing the insets, thorough preparation is done through practical life materials and sensorial materials to instill

qualities such as order, concentration, coordination, and independence in the child. Specifically, the fine motor muscles developed through exercises that involve using a three-finger grasp play a crucial role in preparing the child for handwriting success.

The writing directionality was patterned by the sequencing of materials from left to right and top to bottom. Additionally, materials such as knobbed cylinders and knobs on geometric cabinets insets indirectly prepared for handwriting while also strengthening the three-finger grasp needed for holding a pencil. The use of tactile boards and tablets introduced a light touch and relaxed wrist movement. Practical Life Exercises, which are introduced to children when they enter the Montessori classroom at around age three, provide an indirect preparation for writing.

The purpose of these exercises is not only to learn the particular skill involved, but also to aid the self confidence and independence of the children. The direct preparation for writing starts with using sandpaper letters for kinesthetic practice. Meanwhile, the use of thumb and index finger to grasp tiny knobs helps refine the muscular movement needed for writing. Tracing frames with insets helps develop control of a pencil. To introduce phonemic awareness to the children, the "I Spy" game is used, where a few miniature objects are placed in front of them.

The teacher will play a game called 'I spy with my little brown eye something that begins with the sound 'b''. This game helps us determine if the child can identify initial sounds, which shows they are ready to learn letters. We introduce the sounds of the alphabet to the child by using sandpaper letters. The child can feel the shape

of the letter, see it, and hear the sound all at the same time. The first set of letters includes s, b, n, t, c, and a. The teacher chooses three letters for the first lesson. We use what we call a three-period lesson that reflects different levels of understanding.

In the first period, the child traces and repeats the sound for the letter 'buh'. The same process is followed by the teacher for the remaining letters. In the second period, all three letters are presented to the child and they are asked to identify which one makes the sound 'buh'. Once the child can successfully recognize each letter, the teacher proceeds to the next step. In the third period, the three letters are shown to the child and they are asked to produce the corresponding letter sound. These three period lessons are utilized both for reviewing already learned material and introducing new material.

The Montessori reading materials are categorized into three schemes: Pink, Blue, and Green. The Pink scheme aims to provide the child with a range of work in the same style to sustain her interest. The Blue scheme consists of materials that offer the child ample practice in reading phonetic words. The Green scheme marks the beginning of reading fluency and includes silent letters. According to source5, writing benefits a child's physiology, while reading benefits them socially. The activities in the language area help us gain understanding and appreciation of the world.

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