Friday, February 25, 2011

Transitioning From the Montessori Sandpaper Letters to the Montessori Movable Alphabet

NAMC montessori sandpaper letters montessori movable alphabet

For the past couple of months my Montessori preschool student Jordan, who just turned four years old, has been observing many of the four- and five-year-olds working with the Movable Alphabet. He has obviously been inspired by his observations! Almost every day he asks to work with the Movable Alphabet; however, I know that Jordan isn't yet ready, therefore I am continually guiding and redirecting him to other activities, while explaining that he still needs to learn more sounds before working with the Movable Alphabet.

I try each day to provide Jordan with a Montessori three-period lesson using the Sandpaper Letters, and then record his progress on his sound card.

Transitioning From the Montessori Sandpaper Letters to the Montessori Moveable Alphabet


He usually manages the first two periods with ease ,but often has a difficult time with the final period when I ask him to recall the sound of the letter. It took me a long time to learn the importance of not correcting the child when they indicate the “wrong” letter/sound. I simply continue the lesson, thank the child for working with me, and make a note on their sound card that I need to re-introduce that sound at a later date. It is very important to me that every lesson ends with the child feeling successful.

When it comes to learning, the freedom to make mistakes is just as important as getting it right, and Montessori educators need to keep in mind that both paths lead to the independence to learn and succeed. After five months of lessons with the Sandpaper Letters, something magical happened … last Friday, I sat down with Jordan along with his sound card to confirm which sounds he was able to identify, and to my surprise, he knew 24 of the 26 sounds on his sound card … amazing!

I love how moments of learning come in spontaneous bursts, and suddenly the child “gets it.” Every child learns at his or her own pace and it’s a process that requires great diligence and patience.


With 24 of the Sandpaper Letters under his belt, Jordan is now ready to be introduced to the Movable Alphabet!

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Child’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that have arisen from one real student's Montessori journey.

Bree — NAMC Tutor & Graduate

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, February 25, 2011.

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