The Movable Alphabet
Writing is easier than reading. When writing, one expresses one’s own thoughts; therefore, it naturally comes first. When someone is writing that person analyzes the sounds of his own words. When we are reading we are analyzing someone else’s thoughts and words, which is naturally harder to do.
The Movable Alphabet is a large box containing all of the letters of the English alphabet. Vowels are blue, consonants are red or pink. This color-coding corresponds to the sandpaper letters, with which the child has had much experience. The Movable Alphabet encourages the child to write, using the sounds that she knows. We are very clear in using the term write, rather than spell, because writing is what the focus is on, not spelling. Words that are written with the Movable Alphabet are never corrected.
Since the words have come from the child, she is more likely to attempt to read them back usually before she begins any other form of phonetic reading work. The Movable Alphabet teaches the child that she can express herself through written language. Its beauty is that the cumbersome mechanics of writing and the parameters of proper spelling are not present, so that the child is free to truly express her ideas with out criticism or obstacle.
Direct Preparation for Writing
Help the child in exploration and analysis of his own language
Reproduce words with graphic symbols
Indirect preparation for reading
The Pink Tower
The Pink Tower is a signature work of the Montessori materials—instantly recognized—but has deep meaning and value to the classroom. The scientific design of the material is that they are ten pink wooden cubes ranging from 1 cm3 to 10 cm3. They grow progressively in the algebraic series of the third power. As wit most Sensorial Materials, the material is presented in specific sequences:
- Introduction of the First Period: the basic exercises of using and manipulating the materials.
- Introduction of the Language: language is the abstract quality associated with the material; with the PT it is large/small; larger/smaller & largest/smallest; this is only done after the child has had some experience using the materials.
- Introduction of the GAMES: the games introduce & reinforce many concepts to the child (see below).
- Exploration: The child always initiates this; there are so many interesting ways the children explore with all of the Montessori materials.
Visual Discrimination of Dimensions
– Gaining muscular control of arm and hand
– Appreciation of beauty in design
– Indirect preparation for the hand in writing
– Preparation for the development of mathematical mind (to some extent)
– Preparation for mathematics
– Coordination (eye-hand coordination)
– Refinement of voluntary movement (training of the will)
The Sensorial Games
– Addresses all of the child’s Human Tendencies
– Help to expand the child’s interest for the material and keep him motivated to stay with the material
– Keep the child repeating the concepts embedded in the exercises; he is able to repeat the concrete aspect, so that when the abstract idea is developed it will be even more enhanced for the child
– The language is repeated with the games, so that the memory is increased
– Further develops concentration and will
– Link the sensorial material with the rest of the environment
– Are social; the children learn collaboration with one another