Written language is extremely important throughout life and has enabled the preservation of historical information as well as personal letters and stories. Handwriting involves an expression of thoughts combined with the manual dexterity of hands forming the letters. Enforcing these concepts as early as preschool can create a good foundation for your child.
A child learns how to express thoughts using graphic symbols. That is where the Sandpaper Letters and the Moveable Alphabet come in. In a Montessori setting, a child is introduced to the sounds of the letters of the alphabet before learning the actual names of the letters.
The Sandpaper Letters are letters of the alphabet cut out of very fine sandpaper and then placed on boards or cards. The child uses their finger to trace the letters. The sandpaper helps them feel the letter as they are forming it. At the same time they learn the sounds and learn how to use the letters in words.
Like the sandpaper letters, the Moveable Alphabet normally consists of vowels in blue and consonants in pink or red. However, these letters are cut out of cardboard or plastic and stored in a portable box. First the child learns the sound of each letter as he or she lays them out and then is taught to put the letters into meaningful words. That gradually progresses from single words to phrases, actual sentences and eventually into short stories, which is the beginning of creative writing.
The child learns how to correctly hold a pencil, make different strokes with pencil pressure, and make the hand ready for handwriting. The movement of making the letters is fascinating to the child, and learning to handwrite is a Montessori allows children to experience intellectual and creative growth and be able to learn and work at their own speed and capabilities in an atmosphere that is non-competitive.
The teachers are specially trained to offer lessons and activities according to the readiness of each child, and the teaching materials are unique as the child learns to be self-motivating.