In Montessori education, alphabet letters are introduced by phonetic sounds rather than letter names. We can also teach by whole language or rato but in the long run, it may not be successful. I will be talking about sandpaper letters as an approach to introduce letters of the alphabets.
If you are new to phonics and would like to understand how, why and when to begin you must read this useful article by The Dreamer Mum HERE
Why is teaching sounds of the letter (Phonetics) a better method to introduce alphabets?
When children know the sounds of the letter instead of the name of the letters they can read words more fluently and easily. Phonetics will also eventually help them to write independently. It’s basically a way to build the language foundation and thereon moving to pre-writing skills.
There are few tips to note while introducing phonics sound and preparing for pre-writing skills
- Firstly if you plan to begin phonics you will have to prepare and learn the phonics sounds yourself. Take few minutes a day to practice it. It is advisable to take coaching from a trained professional so you are well equipped to do for your child.
- Do I teach alphabets in an order? – Fun fact is you can introduce alphabets in any order. Ideally, its introduced in an order that allows the child to make many words with the letters he or she has learned. Most kids love to learn the first letter of their own name.
- Uppercase/lowercase – It is suggested to start with lowercase letters as eventually we also use lowercase for writing.
- Whats the best age to introduce phonics – what we call a Montessori sensitive period in a child just like a milestone is 2.5-4 years when they show a keenness to learn letters and their sound. Nonetheless, if you are observant you may know when your child is willing to learn/absorb this new knowledge.
- Cursive vs. Print? You can begin with either but most Montessori schools use cursive in all their teaching material. Here are some benefits of teaching cursive first
- It’s to be noted that cursive is a more natural way of writing.
- Words written in cursive are clearly separated from each other. Run-on words are not as common in cursive.
- The child who can read cursive can also read the manuscript, but the reverse is not true.
- Cursive is also a better exercise for strengthening fine motor skills. The connecting letters help the child to produce smooth, rather than choppy, strokes with the pencil.
But print is widely used and also much easier to identify them. There is no right or wrong choice, just a preference for your child and you.
You can begin with reading books at 0+ as a part of language development and pre-writing. Also, introduce shape puzzles is an excellent way to teach them shapes and dimensions.
Since my daughter is in a Montessori School, I try and follow their curriculum as much as possible. The Montessori principle suggests to work on alphabet sounds and slowly progress to introducing alphabet symbols. Kenisha it turning 2.5 and I can see her strong interest to learn alphabets and sounds. I was very excited to receive the Skola Sandpaper letters at this perfect time for our lessons in coming months.
What are Skola Sandpaper letters?
Simply put, they are like flash cards generally made from thick cardstock or thin wood with a letter embossed on them using sandpaper. The embossed letter allows the child to quite literally feel the letter as they run their fingers over the card. These help to gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to writing.
How are these useful?
These are excellent as in early years a child’s sense of touch is very sharp and the enjoy feeling textures and objects. Tracing leads to building muscle memory of the shapes of the letters which is a much more effective way to learn when compared to rote, or by merely seeing or saying.
The quality of the Skola sandpaper letters in the cursive set is excellent. It is made up of thick cardboard that comes in a perfect wooden base. this base can later be used for tracing with salt or sand. We also received a small pack of wax crayons. The instruction sheet is very well written and can guide parents to start with their Skola journey. Priced at Rs.945 it will make a perfect investment as an educational toy.
We loved our Skola Toys and Highly Recommend them
Each toy on the Skola website has a detailed description to help parents understand its role in your child’s development. For example, they have shared the Montessori phonetics sound video for this Sandpaper Letters Toy HERE
In case you missed, do check out my last post about STEM learning and Pre STEM toys by Skola. They have an amazing range of toys for your child’s learning journey. High-quality wooden toys that make learning fun and early education a breeze for parents. that’s a Skola promise
Visit their website to check out their complete range – www.skola.toys