Is your child ready to read and write? Even though your preschooler has years until they tackle chapter books, they can build a foundation for later literacy skills right now. If you're not sure what to expect from early literacy in the Montessori daycare classroom, take a look.
Are Montessori Early Literacy Lessons Different in Montessori Pre-K's?
The answer to this question depends on what type of child care center you compare Montessori education to. While some child care programs may use similar educational strategies to Montessori, it's likely you'll notice some significant differences in comparison to the traditional type of preschool. In general, Montessori daycare centers:
- Help children to write first. The Montessori early childhood classroom teacher is likely to focus on writing before reading. This helps the child to develop literacy skills in a natural progression.
- Use sandpaper letters. Forget about worksheets. In Montessori classrooms, students explore through a hands-on approach using materials such as sandpaper letters. This Montessori material uses two different colors—one for vowels and one for consonants.
- Combine different modes of learning. The sandpaper letters and other literacy activities encourage the child to learn through sight, sound, touch/texture, and physical muscle memory.
As your child explores the sandpaper letters, they'll gradually move on to writing the alphabet. Without sophisticated fine motor development, the young preschooler may need to build hand and finger skills. While this may seem like a physical task, they'll need this type of strength to write letters and words.
Do Montessori Classrooms Have Traditional Story-times?
The traditional early childhood classroom typically has story-times or reading periods. These literacy-based activities include a teacher reading at or to the students. While Montessori educators do read to their students:
- Storytelling is preferred. The educator will use the art of storytelling (not necessarily story-time) to introduce concepts. This could include literacy-related concepts but doesn't have to.
- Children can explore at their own pace. Uninterrupted work periods provide the young students with a chance to page through books—if they choose. These activity times allow the child to explore and make their own discoveries.
- Students match sounds and letters or words. Montessori child care centers use a multi-sensory approach to reading. Children build words, experiment with sounds, and use visual methods to match words and their meanings.
Early literacy materials, activities, and explorations in the Montessori classroom are grounded in developmental science and research. While the methods are different (in comparison to other daycares), your child will gradually build literacy skills in an engaging, meaningful way.
For more information about your options, contact local daycare centers.