Our summer school holidays are slowly coming to an end and it's time for us to think about going back to school. In our home this means going over some of the basics just to feel like the kids haven't forgotten anything over the break. Otis has been doing lots of language work, lots of reading and writing.
Our movable alphabet, sandpaper letters and sand tray have along with books from the library become essential in our at home learning.
I've mentioned previously that there are many options to the traditional Montessori Sandpaper Letters. Pictured here are the Lakeshore Lowercase Tactile Letters c/o Child.com.au.
Otis will say the sound of the letter and trace it with his first two fingers. The idea is for the child to absorb the sound of the letter and how if feels at the same time. To make the connection between the shape (and form) of the letter and the sound of the letter together. Then Otis will use the sandpaper letter repeatedly depending on the complexity of the letter (l being easy, s,m being more difficult) and then write the letter and then sometimes words in the sand tray. Eventually moving onto the blackboard for more writing practice.
We are finding the sand tray heaps of fun to use, Otis will go on to make patterns and crazy words all the time.
But more on the Tactile Letters because I really want to show how effective they can be. Yes, they stack up. No they are not the large traditional wooden sandpaper letters but they are light, really simple to get out and put away. They come in a little plastic pouch which Otis loves the process of opening, flicking through and picking out the letter he wants to work on. They are on thick card, the textured side has a glossy easy clean surface. Otis is used to handling his materials with care, he treats these reasonably well and they are in a great condition. He gets finger prints on them but they wipe off easily. The letters feel like sandpaper letters, they provide a really solid contrast to the smoothness of the card.
Children are often learning to read and write before they go to school or at the very least beginning to recognise and write some letters. The Montessori approach shouldn't be intimidating or off limits to parents at home (with no Montessori training). I love that the tactile letters can be used by anyone, there is no one right way to use them. I love that they provide a hands on, tactile way for the child to learn the written language. I love that they are fun to use. I love that children can teach themselves!
If you are thinking about trying some Montessori materials at home and your child is interested in or becoming interested in learning or writing letters I recommend finding some sandpaper or tactile letters to use. Also some coloured sand in a tray is a lot of fun and easy to put together too!