The Montessori child begins to learn about language in the home, in the family unit which has nurtured him from birth. In the Montessori classroom, we are not introducing language per se but instead providing building blocks to help the child refine his use of language. Language work begins in the spoken language area with many stories, songs, games, rhymes and lots of specialized vocabulary work. We help the child to classify his world through expanding his vocabulary using real objects and pictures.
The Montessori child begins to read when he is ready and at his own pace. In the meantime, the teacher has introduced the ideas of letter sounds through spoken language work. A visual form is given to the sound through work with the Sandpaper Letters providing a phonetic basis for later reading work. In working with the Sandpaper Letters, the child hears the sound, sees the shape of the letter, and prepares his muscles to write the letter through tracing the shape. The shape and sound become its own entity and thus later, letters are associated with sounds and linked together to form words and stories.
Spoken language, letters and sounds fill the classroom and when the time is right a child explodes into reading. Further keys to reading are introduced and a child is provided other work to help him realize the meaning of words, how words relate to one another and how words can be used to express a particular thought. Extensions in the areas of Science, Geography, Music, and Art further enhance the child’s total language experience in a Montessori Classroom.