Language & Literacy – a structured programme based on a phonetic system to develop reading, writing, spelling and grammar. The sandpaper letters (tactile alphabet) allow the children to link sound and symbol effortlessly, encouraging the written expression.  The Montessori environment is full of oral language opportunities.  Confidence in reading is built through the study of parts of speech, which continues in the Primary classroom.

Montessori recognised that a child actually goes through two sensitive periods for language development: one is the periods from birth to about five years old, the other is from the age of about seven to nine years.

The first period is concerned with the more sensorial aspects and moves from the uttering and repetition of simple sounds, through the crucial understanding that everything has its own name, into an increasing interest in the elements of sound and shape, and ultimately moving on to abilities of writing, reading and increasing explorations into the communication of meaning.

The second involves a fascination with construction i.e. grammar. She saw that the young child has extraordinary abilities during the first period and that this special sensitivity resulted in each one being able to master the intricacies of his or her own language with an ease that could never again be replicated.

Any obstacles to the childÕs natural language development at this time could cause damage that would continue into adulthood. As with all aspects of her work, she watched very carefully what it was that the activities of the children were showing her before she moved on to specifically assist this development.

Hence it was that the children showed her that, in order to write, the muscular mechanisms of the hand needed to be perfected through indirect exercises, that writing came easily whereas reading involved more elaborate mental activities and that, contrary to opinion of the time, such young children had a natural disposition to acquire such abilities.


Language & Literacy