The Montessori classroom is designed to help children experience different modes of language and to naturally understand the importance of communication. This educational approach breaks down language learning into clear component skills, allowing children to gain confidence with each step prior to continuing on to the next. The approach to language study in Montessori creates a sense of effortless learning due to recognition of the individuality of each child. Dr. Maria Montessori observed that during a child’s development, there is a specific moment unique to each child where they develop interest in written language. Given resources to feed this interest, the child will joyfully explore writing and reading.
There are three stages of language development that Dr. Maria Montessori identified
Stage 1: Pre-reading and Pre-writing
- Vocabulary Skills
- Visual Perception Skills
- Phonic Skills
- Sensorial Writing
Stage 2: Developmental Reading and Writing
- Reading Program
- Writing Skills
- Introduction to Grammar
Stage 3: Reading and Writing as a Tool
- Grammar and Word Study
- Formal Writing
- Fact Finding
According to Dr. Montessori, language develops through two internal aids, which together drive a child to act on impulses beginning at infancy and continuing through the age of six. These two aids to the child’s pattern of development are the “Sensitive Periods” and “Absorbent Mind”. The sensitive periods refer to periods of innate sensibility that developmentally drives the mind of a young child to acquire a specific trait. The absorbent mind works as a sponge, enabling children to take in information without effort in an unconscious manner through interacting with their environment. Children are initially introduced to vocabulary and later analyze words into sounds. They then learn to associate phonetic sounds with the corresponding letter, and trace the letter to internalize the movements made in writing. As children grow older, they then put these sounds together into words and sentences, facilitating progression to writing.