Alphabet Presentation Revolt

Montessori schools introduce the phonetic sounds of the alphabet to children before telling the name of the letters. You introduce the sounds with the first, second and third period lesson.

We introduced the names of the letters first, which I know is “wrong” according to Montessori theory. All of our students knew the names of the letters before starting preschool, thanks to Sesame Street and a good learning home environment. When we would introduce just the sounds of the sandpaper letters, many of the children would become indignant and tell us the name of the letter. This confusion would stop the flow of learning. So we had to readjust how we did our lesson.
This is what we did-
We would show the letter, “b” for example. We would demonstrate how to trace the “b” sandpaper letter, “This is the letter “b”, and we would proceed with the three period lesson. The students would get very enthusiastic at this point.
We would say this letter makes a sound, b. We would say the b sound as clearly as possible and let the child say it. We then proceeded to the 3 period lesson.

At this point the students were very happy and understood the process. Most of our children were at least 4 years old, so this approach worked well with them. I know with my toddler class that introducing just the sounds of the alphabet works very well, they usually don’t know the names of the letters yet. Montessori is supposed to be flexible enough to change for the children’s needs. We are supposed to make the method fit, not the children fit to the method. The most important thing about any curriculum or approach is to make sure it works for your children.

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