In Montessori, children learn to write before they learn to read with help of the Sandpaper Letters. After practicing letter formation using those letters, students need to continue handwriting exercises using various fine motor materials. I gathered a collection of handwriting resources and learning-to-write materials I hope you find helpful.
The Montessori method understands that writing is not merely a task to be learned but an intricate process that requires a strong foundation in language skills and fine motor development. At the heart of the Montessori philosophy lies the belief that children learn best when they are actively engaged in hands-on, meaningful activities. In this blog post, we will explore the Montessori approach to learning writing, including when to start and how to create an environment where children can naturally develop their writing skills.
Language Development as a Pre-cursor:
In the Montessori approach, language development lays the groundwork for writing. Before children can write, they must develop strong oral skills and a rich vocabulary. Encourage conversations, read books aloud, and engage children in language-rich activities such as storytelling, rhyming games, and singing. This promotes the development of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure – all essential components of successful writing.
The Montessori method emphasizes the importance of preparing children’s hands and minds for writing through pre-writing activities. Engage children in hands-on exercises that enhance fine motor skills such as tearing paper, using tongs, or manipulating playdough. The Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom offers various materials to develop hand strength and coordination, including pouring activities, threading, and using tweezers. Fine motor development is crucial for holding a pencil and forming letters with control.
Metal Insets are a unique Montessori material specifically designed to refine a child’s hand control, hand-eye coordination, and creativity. These metal frames contain various geometric shapes, and children use a pencil to trace the shapes onto paper. Metal Insets help children develop the movements required for forming letters, build spatial awareness, and strengthen concentration skills.
The Montessori Sandpaper Letters provide a tactile and multisensory experience for children to learn the sounds of letters and their corresponding symbols. Each letter is made of sandpaper, allowing children to trace their fingers over the shape of the letter while saying its sound. This kinesthetic approach enhances letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and prepares children for the physical act of writing.
The Moveable Alphabet is another prominent Montessori material that allows children to explore and experiment with words before writing them. This set of wooden letters empowers children to build words independently, fostering their creativity and providing a visual representation of the connection between sounds and symbols. The Moveable Alphabet helps with letter-sound correspondence, spelling, and composing sentences, all of which contribute to the eventual writing process.
Encourage Meaningful Writing:
In a Montessori environment, writing is encouraged when children feel inspired to express themselves. Provide opportunities for children to engage in meaningful writing experiences by creating a print-rich environment with labels, signs, and message boards. Encourage children to write letters, stories, or even keep journals of their thoughts and experiences. Celebrate their writing efforts, fostering a sense of pride in their work and a desire to continue learning and improving.
The Montessori method recognizes that learning to write is a gradual and holistic process. By focusing on language development, fine motor skills, and providing hands-on materials, the Montessori approach nurtures a love for writing and sets children up for success. By creating a writing-friendly environment, children are encouraged to engage in meaningful writing experiences that reflect their interests and experiences. Through the Montessori approach, children naturally develop the skills necessary for confident and expressive writing, empowering them on their journey as lifelong learners.
Here is what Maria Montessori had to say to teachers and educators when it comes to teaching children to write:
“Holding the knob of the cylinders with the first two fingers and thumb is a preparation of the coordination of the hand for writing. At a later age the intelligence of the child will urge him to write. He will be impeded if the organs are not prepared. ” The 1946 London Lectures
“Writing is not identical with the alphabet. Writing consists of a series of attempts to transmit thought in a practical and permanent way. Its history goes back to thousands of years ago. At first, man tried to represent the objects of his thoughts by means of drawings; then he tried to symbolise ideas by signs, and only much later has he found a simple solution in the alphabet. ” The Formation of Man
“Driven by this inner sensibility children absorb language from their environment and miraculously develop it. This sensibility is so great during this period that if they were to be given another means of expressing language, such as writing, this other form of language will interest the child intensely. These children loved to write because they were in the sensitive period for language. ” The 1946 London Lectures
“Summing up, we may say that the two mechanical factors of writing are resolved into two independent exercises, that is, drawing, which gives the hand the ability to handle the writing instrument, and touch the letters of the alphabet, which serves to establish a motor memory along with a visual memory of the letters. ” The Discovery of the Child
“The hand too, therefore, needs its own preparation. What is needed before one actually writes is to learn writing by means of a series of interesting exercises which form a kind of gymnastics similar to those used to give agility to the muscles of the body. ” The Formation of Man,
“Only after a child has begun to write on his own should a teacher intervene to guide his progress in writing. ” The Discovery of the Child
This is one of a series of videos featuring Susan Scheibenzuber from “Laughing Star Montessori” explaining the “Beautiful Handwriting System.”
Capturing ordinary days in Montessori environments. The natural development of a literate human being, able to express himself and communicate successfully with others, is at the root of authentic Montessori practice.
learning to write resources you might find helpful in your classroom
Summer Playdough Mats Fine Motor$3.00
Alphabet Phonics Letter Activity Pages$6.00
I Have, Who Has Game Verbs Action Cards$3.00
My Word of the Month$2.00
I Have, Who Has Game Collective Nouns$3.30
I Have, Who Has Game Antonyms Opposites$3.00
I Have, Who Has Game Rhyming Words$3.00
I Have, Who Has Game Synonyms$3.00
I Have, Who Has Game CVC Words Short Vowels Phonics$4.00
Short Vowel Cards Phonics Learning to Read Cards Tracing Worksheets$3.50
I Have, Who Has – Beginning & Ending Sounds Phonics$3.00
Product on saleLearning to Read Phonics Blends Silent ‘e’ Bundle$10.00
Diphthongs Vowel Blends Learning to Read Cards Tracing Worksheets Phonics$3.00
Blends Phonics Learning to Read Cards Tracing Worksheets$3.00
Consonant r-s-l Blends Learning to Read Cards Tracing Worksheets Phonics$3.50
Consonant ch sh wh ph th Blends Learning to Read Cards – Phonograms$3.00
Lined Writing Highlighted Paper Handwriting Practice$2.00
I Have, Who Has – Summer ABC’s – Editable$3.00