Pumpkin 1 loves letters. She likes to find the in books, magazines and when out. She knows the names of quite a few, sometimes I’m not even sure how she learned the names. She’s young for this, but since she’s interested, I’m going to work on letters with her (child led learning). But, the Montessori method of introducing letters is different than how it’s typically done. Have you ever noticed how so many children’s toys use capital letters, when the majority of writing is in lower case letters? Montessori teaches the lower case letters first, and it teaches the phonetic sound first, before the name. The sound is really the important part of a letter, not the name of the letter. The Montessori philosophy feels that a child should learn to write before they read, that he or she needs to be able to express themselves before they can understand the expressions of others. The tangible comes before the abstract. Montessori schools use a “movable alphabet” to teach letters which is letters made of wood that the child can touch and hold (I use plastic magnetic letters) and they also use sandpaper letters so the child can touch and trace them. This stimulates all the senses for more in depth learning. The letters are also introduced, not in alphabetical order, but in an order that allows the child to make as many words as possible.
Now, Pumpkin 1 is a little young to made words I think, I don’t know if she’s yet grasped the concept that letters make words which describe objects, but, she can learn the sounds the letters make. I’m going to start over in my teaching her and pull out all the lower case letters. I’m going to focus on the sounds of the letters rather than the names. I’ll experiment with word building and see how it goes, or if it’s something to visit down the road. She does, however, love to play with the Melissa and Doug word puzzles.