Wondering about the Montessori alphabet activities to teach preschool? Click this article to explore more!
The alphabet is the foundation for young children to learn reading and writing. Some children aged two years old are likely to show their interest in alphabet letters. The learning ability of each child is also different. Some kids learn incredibly quickly, while others need more time for repetition.
In Montessori education, learning the alphabet is different in traditional schools. In other words, it completely transforms the learning habit of children in a better way. If you are eager to discover some Montessori alphabet activities for your children, you should read this article.
What Is Montessori Learning?
The Montessori Method
These days, Montessori serves as one of the essential early years of education. Its classroom ideas and practices have a profound impact on young children’s education over the world.
Throwback to the time of the Montessori Method’s advent in the early 1900s, it was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. To be more specific, this method is child-centered and focuses on child-led activities.
In the classroom, there are children of varying ages. Teachers are responsible for encouraging these children’s independence. It is believed that small children can learn better if they are allowed to choose what to learn. By applying this philosophy, a Montessori classroom has some unique features:
- Non-traditional grading system
- Teachers will move from group to group
- A variety of activity stations for kids to choose from
- The physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of the children are considered
- Develop social interaction
- Improve hands-on independent learning
- Independence is the focus
- The open-ended structure might be daunting for some children and parents
The Montessori Environment
The environment in a Montessori classroom is open, pleasing, spacious, and tidy. Each element is proportional to the size and height of children. Specifically, there are tables/chairs of different sizes and low shelves suitable for children to sit in groups or individually.
Besides, the classroom has different theme areas related to the bibliography and materials displayed on the shelves. Therefore, children can move freely and easily choose their favorite materials.
By and large, the environment stimulates the kids’ independence of learning and exploring processes. When they find activities responding to their needs, they form self-discipline and freedom.
Foundational Principles of Montessori Method
1. Mixed-age Classrooms
The Montessori classrooms are often divided into three age groups, including mixed ages and skill levels. When joining the classroom, small children will learn from their older peers. At the same time, the older ones can solidify their competence and achieve more leadership skills.
2. Uninterrupted Work Period
The authentic Montessori curriculum has uninterrupted and long work periods, generally from 2 to 3 hours. Children will have morning and afternoon in a classroom, including all subjects. This time helps children concentrate intensely and engage with materials deeply.
3. Experiential Learning
The materials used in Montessori classes are specially designed as children learn by using the movable alphabet. This alphabet consists of wooden letters and little objects, which allows children to add and count.
4. Teacher’s Role
Teachers play the role of a guide instead of standing and teaching in front of pupils. They observe, introduce, and give children tools for learning at the right time.
There are two academic areas in the Montessori class, including sensorial and practical life. Sensorial is to learn through the senses, which is most popular for small kids.
The practical life includes exercises for children to learn skills in daily life. These exercises can be tying shoes, pouring water, budgeting, scrubbing a table, and so on.
6. Freedom within Limits
Children can choose what to work and where to sit, but with teachers’ guidance. They are not allowed to go around, only draw all day, or distract friends.
7. Individualized Curriculum
Each child in a Montessori class will be observed, tracked, and given one-on-one lessons by the teacher. As the children mostly work independently, this is possible to carry out.
8. Educating The Entire Child
As mentioned above, the child will be improved in all aspects such as physics, spirit, mental health. Each component is contemplated equally as important.
9. Peace Education
Children will learn about the world around them. They will also be taught how to calm themselves and conduct peaceful conflict resolution.
10. Prepared Environment
Everything in the classroom is designed to be suitable for the exploration and learning needs of children. There are natural lights and muted colors for children to foster concentration. The work is well-organized, which benefits children with a developing sense of order.
Why Do People Prefer The Montessori Approach To Teach The Alphabet?
Sounds Before Letter Names
Different from the conventional teaching method, children in the Montessori class learn the sounds that the alphabet makes first. Then, they will learn the letter names to help them with spelling.
This learning method is beneficial for children as they need to know what sounds the letters make to form them into words. For instance, you point to the letter “d” and say “da” instead of telling that this is the letter D.
Montessori lessons give preschoolers sensory experiences of different things comprising letters. So, children will trace sandpaper letters when they make the letter’s sound.
By doing this, the small ones can hear the sounds and feel the shape of letters simultaneously. This helps them absorb the lesson fully.
Upper Case After Lower Case Letters
When learning by the Montessori method, children begin with lowercase letters. The child will encounter lowercase letters more frequently when reading books and texts than uppercase.
What Makes The Introduction To The Alphabet In The Montessori Classroom A Bit Different From Other Methods?
This feature is mentioned a lot in this article as it is the key to the Montessori method. Instead of reading letters, children will learn how to sound each letter. This helps them to link sounds to make many words later. Accordingly, it is significantly helpful and intuitive for children to spell a word.
The cursive is the traditional method, but it is not taught in every Montessori class. Although some people think that this method is outdated, it still benefits children somehow. In learning cursive, letters combine to create words physically, while words will be spaced in sentences.
Additionally, fluid movements are involved in cursive learning. This is more natural and easier for little ones. So, after being good at cursive, children can quickly pick up the print.
Writing Before Reading
From the Montessori method principle, it is understandable that children start to form words themselves through the phonetics of each letter. From that point, making words by putting letters (sounds) together might be easier for children to do than connecting letters in words in a book or text.
It is not a strange phenomenon when a primary-age child can build words with the help of a moveable alphabet before they are able to write words physically. There is no doubt that this is a concrete way to form words.
Subsequently, children are likely to have a proper understanding of each word’s meaning. It helps them a lot before they can read and write with paper and pencil.
How To Teach The Alphabet With The Montessori Method?
1. Call The Letters By Sounds
The sounds of letters identify the letters themselves. This method is promoted in the Montessori class as it connects the visual letters to the sounds. To teach children with this method, you point to a letter and say its sound. For example, you teach the letter A, but you say the sound “aah,” not “ay.”
When the child grows up, he or she can learn the names of letters formally. Associating the sounds to letters like this can assist children in writing and reading words.
2. Choose More Common Sound For Letters
A letter might have more than one sound. For example, the letter G can be “juh” in “gem” or “guh” in the “gap”. In this situation, you should begin with the more common one. The letter G has more words whose sound is “guh”.
3. Begin With Short Vowel Sounds
Children cannot read words having three letters with long vowels that sound like “say”. It will confuse them and hinder them from reading lots of words. Therefore, you should start with and stick to short vowel sounds, such as “sip” or “sat” first.
4. Don’t Introduce The Alphabet In Order
Typically, children have been taught letters in alphabetical order. Some children also like to sing the Alphabet Song. In this way, they have to organize words following this order. However, the Montessori method has a better way to teach the alphabet.
This method focuses on the order allowing children to create and pronounce as many words as possible. If you introduce them to three letters A, B, C in alphabetical order, they may form only the word “cab”.
So, it would be better if the set of letters is introduced. But make sure that the set contains familiar and simple sounds, not tricky like “Ch”. This helps children to identify and form words quickly.
5. Introduce Lowercase Beforehand
When reading books, children are likely to see the lowercase letters more than uppercase ones. You can take advantage of words and sentences in these books and ask them to point out the lowercase. After children are good at identifying lowercase letters, you can introduce the uppercase ones.
6. Sing Songs Related To The Letter Sound
Songs are a great way to teach everything. They are catchy and fun for kids to sing along to. It will help if you teach children rhymes or songs focusing on the sounds of the entire alphabet.
You can look at some ideas such as “Learning Our Short Vowels” or “This Is the Sound” in Volume 1, 102 Children’s Songs. “Rhyme Time” in Volume 5, School Days, is also a good source.
7. Use Sensory Items And Movable Letters
The Montessori classroom usually prioritizes sensory items and movable letters such as wooden pieces and blocks to writing words. This technique is excellent and exciting as feeling textures when tracing letters helps children learn more effectively.
Regarding movable letters, you can use magnets so that children can rearrange the letters to form words without pencils. By doing this, children can learn and play at the same time. Besides, they know how to develop new words by swapping a letter. For example, “cat’ can become “mat” by replacing only the letter C.
Montessori Alphabet Activities
As mentioned above, the Montessori Moveable Alphabet is a useful tool to help kids quickly remember the alphabet. This Montessori school environment tool can help children rapidly remember words, spell, read, and write.
However, how should you use this tool to maximize its effectiveness? Here are some instructional activities that you should try out in your curriculum.
1. Inspire Your Child’s Curiosity About The Montessori Moveable Alphabet
As we all know, the appropriate age for children to start learning the alphabet is 3.5 years or older. Children tend to quickly perceive and memorize through vivid and flexible objects such as the movable alphabet.
When a child is exposed to Montessori Alphabet Activity, he can get ready faster. You can easily see this through your child’s awareness of 3 or 4 consonants.
This activity aims at one main goal: to help children perceive and familiarize themselves with the moving alphabet. When a child is interested in what he is being exposed to, he will learn more quickly. At the same time, your child can be more attentive in arranging letters and matching them with other letters in the box. So, how should you give your child an initial approach to Montessori Alphabet Activity? Here are the steps you should try:
- First of all, make sure that the child is comfortable and excited about it. Be gentle when inviting them to do the job.
- Then bring the alphabets above the shelf and move them to the carpet area.
- Come up with a name for the movement.
- Observe the content inside the wooden box and give the child a description of the content.
- Slowly let your child get used to it.
- To see the letters clearly, show how to shape the messages in the box. Make sure that the same letters are stacked in separate compartments.
- You can remove one or more letters. You can then bring it back into the box.
- It is helpful to use left-to-right scanning.
- Finally, after neatly packing all the letters in the box, put it back where it was initially.
Although this is simple, it will make your child interested in the countless letters they have approached. Besides, the striking colors (red and blue) are also easy to attract children’s attention. After a few listening sessions, your child can identify sounds and match letters to the sound. Children also know how to control errors if they notice the notes are arranged in many different compartments.
2. Raise Awareness From Short Vowels With Sandpaper Letters And Movable Alphabets
A child between the ages of 3 and 4 years old can become more aware of the surroundings. After the introduction and scrollable alphabet instructions, you can give them access to the sandpaper letters.
This next activity also has its clear goal: that is to concentrate carefully on the word order, concentration, coordination. Besides, independence and self-esteem are also indispensable factors. Once they become aware of these essential things, they are ready for significant steps: reading, writing, and spelling.
As you approach Montessori Alphabet Activity, you can take these steps to help your child build short vowel words:
- Cover the sandpaper letters that you prepared earlier on the carpet.
- Pay attention to which consonants and vowels your child has memorized. Usually, children will remember a few easy consonants and vowels such as a, c, s, or m.
- Have your child read some of the previous words. Use that word to guide your child through this activity, for example, “apple” with letters on sandpaper.
- Then introduce your child to the Big Move Alphabet.
- Instruct your child to scan the cells with their index finger in order from top to bottom, left to right.
- Use the Scrollable Alphabet to quiz your child to find matching letters.
- Once your child has finished searching, you can arrange the Scrollable Alphabet letters into words they read earlier.
- Let them organize themselves and ask them to read aloud the word they have made up.
- Apply the same way with many other words such as “mouse,” “cat,” “dog.”
- Teach your child how to arrange letters into correct and correct compartments.
Based on the striking colors of the vowels and consonants, children will find it extremely interesting. In particular, the sounds and mixing letters with the colors of the vowels and consonants will attract children. Also, the child knows how to rearrange the letters in the corresponding compartment.
3. Use Short Vowel Words And Pictures
As your child becomes more familiar and proficient with letters in putting them together, you can increase the difficulty slightly. For now, you can use a somewhat more abstract approach with the movable alphabet.
With the new lessons, children can gain greater awareness and know-how to build short vowel words with a moving alphabet. Besides, instead of objects, as usual, children can also match words with appropriate pictures.
But first, you need to prepare a few necessary documents:
The first indispensable is the scrolling alphabet and pictures. Red and blue will clearly distinguish the vowel, the consonant, a rug, paper ballots, and the work board.
Some pictures representing short vowels, consonants, vowels, and sample consonants that you can use are:
- / a /: pan, gas, bag, can, ham, tag, cat, fan.
- / e /: pen, hem, bed, hen, jet, leg, men, red, web, keg.
- / i /: pig, pins, fins, wig, tin, lips, kid.
- / o /: dog, fox, top, cob, pod.
- / u /: gum, rug, bud, bus, cup, mud, sun, bug.
Each activity has its meaning. When you have your child do this activity, they will learn many lessons:
- Initially, approach and form awareness, and read words with phonetic, short vowels with three letters.
- Children can learn to be focused and orderly. Solve the problem yourself and coordinate skills.
- When they listen a lot, they can recognize words and know their analysis.
- Construct the correct words.
Knowing many new words will help children learn to read and read more fluently. It also can improve children’s vocabulary.
You can use this approach to help your child match short vowel words with the right pictures:
- Give your child regular access to the Movable Alphabet and pictures of short vowel words.
- Tell your child where you store the Movable Alphabet and the pictures of short vowel words.
- Open the mat and have your child learn and play on it.
- Before bringing them onto the rug, make a selection of the box containing pictures of the / a / short words.
- Then, following a vertical column, place the picture container so that it is in the upper left.
- To the right of the image container, you can place the box containing the Movable Alphabet letters.
- Give the picture a suitable name. For example, if you are using a picture of a cat, name it “cat.”
- You point at each letter in the Movable Alphabet box while creating the first sound that matches the image. It will help your child locate the letter that represents the sound.
- Continue this way until you can slowly isolate each sound.
- Start at the letter “C,” sweep it, remove it from the box and place it on the rug.
- Next comes the letter “A,” similar: sweep it and place it on the rug.
- Finally, the letter “T,” sweep it and place it on the rug.
- Note that you place the letter to the right of the next message. Arrange them not in a particular order but randomly.
- Point to the picture and give it an appropriate name.
- Point to the picture and read the word out. Move your finger in the direction from left to right. Emphasize the sounds of the name so that the child can memorize them more easily.
- Then, continue with this method with the next image.
- You cannot forget that your child must always focus and pay attention to what you are doing. If not, the child will be distracted and unable to remember.
- Before storing materials on a shelf, do it one more time so that your child can memorize it thoroughly. Start from the object on the left and name it.
- Have your child read the words and put them in the appropriate compartment.
- Finally, put the objects and the alphabet in place.
4. Links Movable Alphabet with Sandpaper Letters
Montessori Alphabet Activity can bring children beneficial awareness of the alphabet – children’s initial steps in cognition and memory. Knowing how to link this tool is very important. You have to use sandpaper letters – a familiar material and find a connection between it and the movable alphabet.
Of course, the right age will help children be more ready to learn the lesson’s goal more closely – like a movable alphabet. As mentioned above, from 3.5 years old and up, children can prepare for spelling, reading, and writing by recognizing 3 to 4 consonants and one vowel.
Similar to the steps above, you also need a rug, movable alphabet, and sandpaper letters.
You can apply this approach to find the link between Sandpaper Letters and Movable Alphabet:
- First, you must arouse the interest of the child.
- Open the rug to use.
- Select any letter using sandpaper.
- Then find the corresponding letter in the movable alphabet. Or you can replace it by removing a few letters so that it corresponds to the letters with sandpaper.
- You can place it above or below the sandpaper letter.
- See which letters your child loves and follow their wishes.
- To let your child remember longer, put the letters in the movable alphabet box.
- Ask your child to scan them from left to right and identify the previous word.
- This activity can get your child interested and interested in the challenges you pose. Additionally, children also learn by themselves how to control letters that do not match previous letters.
5. Combine Short Vowel Words With Objects
Montessori Alphabet Activity will help children get ready for contact with short vowel words and find objects corresponding to that word. Before doing this activity, you have to prepare some necessary tools:
- Red and blue pencil to write on the label (note that applying child is ready)
- Prepare the Movable alphabet and the objects that correspond to words. It would help if you had paper slips, a rug, and a work board.
- Choose words that match the vowels that you prepare your child for exposure.
Similar to the activities above, this will help your child:
- Get acquainted and know how to read short vowel words.
- Focus and combine skills to find answers
- Know how to analyze sounds in words
- Know how to match and build correct words
- Cultivate vocabulary to prepare you for reading and writing
You can use this to help your child connect short vowel words with the right audience:
- First of all, you have to arouse your child’s interest in short vowel words and Movable Alphabet.
- Let your child know where you put these tools.
- Open the rug and put the tools in.
- Named suitable for each object.
- Then ask your child to repeat the name of each object you use.
- Follow the same steps as you would for your child to approach the association of the movable alphabet and the images.
- Always remember to let your child focus on what he or she is doing.
- Ask your child to read the words formed aloud. Even if your children misspelled them, do not correct them.
Repeating these requests will make your child more profoundly aware and memorize the short vowel words they have just learned. You can ask your child to match as many words as possible.
If your child gets used to this, he or she will practice quick reflexes with better memory. Once your child loves this activity, you will not find it challenging to teach your child’s alphabet anymore.
6. Learn Simple Symbols Through Name Recognition Activity
Some people might think that it is not essential for children to know how to write their names. Conversely, as the name is very close to children, learning the name will motivate them to learn other sounds or words.
There are some name recognition ideas which are helpful as follow:
- Magnetic letters
- Lowercase alphabet playdough stamps
- Alphabet stickers on card or paper
- Cut letters out from print, magazine, or newspaper and paste onto another paper
- Alphabet cookie cutters
- A stamp paint or pad for alphabet stamps
For example, you can use the idea of playdough. This material allows children to play with placement. Besides, it is incredibly fun, familiar, and erasable. They can turn letters upside down or sideways, which is how children find out how letters go.
However, if you want to use the name recognition activities, you should follow some rules.
- Do not correct the children’s mistakes. They should explore themselves
- Do not use the capital letters
- Do not use the worksheets or have tracing
- Focus only on the first name of children
It is clearly seen that the Montessori method is not challenging to apply even at home or at school. It would be best if you remembered the basic principle of this method. First, you should label letters by sounds and short vowel sounds. Then, you begin with familiar sounds of letters for children to grasp the knowledge beforehand quickly.
Several exciting Montessori alphabet activities are mentioned above. These activities are easy to apply and carry out at home. Children only can absorb well when they have motivation and engagement in learning the alphabet. Therefore, playing and singing seem to be the most useful way to stimulate their attention and ability.