In a Montessori environment we don’t teach the children to read, we give them tools for them to learn how to do it. Each individual is different, therefore some children will learn to read later than others and the process can be long for some and short for others.
We talked about spoken language during our last parent night as well as last month’s blog. The exercises of spoken language continue to be part of the process parallel with reading exercises; this means that we continue to give lessons to the children in spoken language and writing while they are learning how to read. We play sound games with them, read out loud, sing, give the language of the sensorial and practical life materials, etc. The process of reading is interactive and fun.
The child explores the phonetic sounds of the letters in many ways in a Montessori classroom. The movable alphabet gives them the opportunity to build words and sentences that the child will later be able to read. Therefore Montessori is known for learning how to write before reading versus traditional education where reading comes first. Writing before reading is a more efficient way to guide the child in a successive, unconscious and pressure free manner. Once the child has acquired the knowledge of the phonetic sound of the letters, recognizes their symbols with the many sound games and the sandpaper letters, we begin to introduce reading exercises. The children begin to read phonetically in many ways. One of the lessons we offer is a box of little items that he can see and touch to be able to identify the reading label by reading it. For example, we have a box with 6 items: a little bat, can, mop, cat, dog, and fan. We introduce this items to the child by their name. Then we write the item names one by one showing it to the child and asking him to read it to us. Once they do this, they can match it with the object. We have many tangible materials, books, and cards that will focus on phonetic reading.
Phonetic sandpaper letters and essential sandpaper phonograms are presented in tandem to help the child procure the keys to language in a natural way. After that we begin with a box with objects but the names of the items will now contain a phonogram. For example: spoon, broom, leaf, shirt, chair, etc. Once again we follow the same procedure by matching the names with the items and continue the process with books, labels, cards, etc. Just to make it more interesting, we begin introducing sight words, aka Montessori's “puzzle words”. These are the words that don’t sound like they look!
This is just the beginning of reading in a Children’s House. The children love exploring the classroom labeling materials, reading and follow recipes, composing and reading poems, playing with word order (syntax), and finally be able to understand their surroundings by themselves with the beautiful gift of reading. The different groups in the language area are function of words (grammatical forms), sentence analysis, interpretive reading and word study.
The end goal is to help the child develop his/her personality through total reading:
- Understanding literal and implied meaning of text
- Comprehension of informative thought and comprehension
- Recognition and expression of style of writing
- Understanding historical and cultural context
How you can support your child with reading at home:
As parents we always hear “read to your child!" Yes, this is a key for helping your child to be able to learn how to read so please continue to do the amazing job you do by introducing your child to books. Remember to offer your child stories based on real life rather than fantasy, their brains are little sponges right now that will absorb all the information you are reading to them. How wonderful to get to know who Chopin or Frida Khalo were through the art of literacy!
Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms
Hello Jackrabbit families, what a busy couple of months. The children are looking taller and growing more independent day by day. Welcome to our new Jackrabbits Elliot and Cora! Our beautiful class has double in size since the beginning of the school year and we love it. The children are so welcoming to our new friends.
We have been talking a lot about birds in our classroom. The children are loving to discover what kind of birds live in Arizona and using binoculars to observe them. This activity encourages them to wait patiently for the birds to come to our feeder and to remain calm and quiet so the birds don’t get scared and fly away. This past weekend the teachers had a refresher course. The speaker was amazing and really made us think of what we do in our classrooms every day. One of the points was how to expose the children to nature. It’s such a pleasure to see the children waiting quietly for a bird to arrive to our outdoor environment. I admire their patience, independence, self control, concentration, respect for nature, etc.
We must fill our child’s lives with experiences. The speaker said “what good is to tell a child from the window that those flowers smell beautiful if we don’t give them the sensorial experience to take them outside to smell them? The experiences that go through their senses will be the ones that will remain in their brains, and perhaps their souls, for the rest of their lives. Dance in the rain, take them for walks, pick up sticks, rocks, leaves, go hiking to these beautiful mountains that our state offers us, rivers, plant a tree, and have fun!
Dear Cactus Wren Families,
What a wonderful explosion of learning happening in the Cactus Wren Classroom. With the warmer weather, comes the natural curiosity of nature. The children are busy finding and examining the many insects in the garden. They are enjoying sitting in the garden and basking in the warmth of the sun. Our garden has many flowers, the beautiful water fountain donated by the Shah family, and many vegetables.
In the classroom, we have been discussing fossils. How fossils are created, where we can find them, and how current day items are being fossilized today. Our special interest tray includes a Carcharodon Megalodon shark tooth fossil along with a Trilobite Fossil from Utah.
We look forward to continue the explosion of knowledge, growth, and community in our every growing Cactus Wren Classroom.
Ms. Johna and Miss Eugenia
Dear Bobcat families~
It's hard to believe that we are on the tail end of the school year. February has been a very exciting month with so many holidays and events to discuss and read about. Our bookshelves are flowing over with texts about the Olympics, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Chinese New Year and Black History Month. What a month full of information and discussion! It is such a pleasure to hear their inquisitive minds.
This month we also have been perfecting our sugar cookie recipe with busy bees at the baking work every day. The children are really loving the process that involves precise measurements and the use of a rolling pin and cookie cutters. When you are looking for family friendly activities over the weekend, why not make some cookies? Fun for the whole family!
Ms. Carmen and Ms. Liz
Dearest Gray Fox Families,
Is it Spring yet? It sure feels like Spring! We are loving the weather lately and the children have been taking full advantage of their outdoor space. February was a delightful month in the Gray Fox Children’s House as we welcomed new friends, Valentina and Oliver. The children were busy out in the garden preparing for the new season.
We have been reading many stories about gardens and the purpose of worms in the dirt. We’ve been focusing on respecting nature and patience. The children were also excited to taste some cauliflower from the Cactus Wren classroom earlier in the month. We’ve had some interesting show & share including a pet guinea pig and a pet bird. It’s amazing to see how gentle the children are with these tiny creatures.
Please enjoy this poem we’ve been reciting in class:
A Little Seed
A little seed for me to sow
A little soil to make it grow
A little hole, a little pot.
A little wish, and that is that.
A little sun, a little shower.
A little while –
And then, a flower!
Ms. Lauren & Ms. Yadira