Maria Montessori’s sandpaper letters sharply contrast with the traditional approach of looking at letters to memorise them, in that it engages three senses – visual, auditory and tactile – to support children’s ability to learn and remember.
Everything you need for this lesson can be found in your home:
- Large letters – you could write these out or print them from your computer but, importantly, they need to be textured; you can achieve this by simply gluing sand onto card or paper, or by using actual sandpaper to create your letters.
- A tray or largish shallow dish with sand in it for children to trace letters in.
- A container (basket, box etc.) containing items that start with the letter you are working with.
The idea behind the lesson is to engage various parts of a child’s brain in the learning process by encouraging him to look at the letter and verbalise its sound (visual and auditory), and then trace it on the sandpaper before writing it into the sand (tactile).
To see how the lesson works, have a look at the below tutorial by My Works Montessori, which focuses on the letter ‘b’:
You’ll notice in the video the precise order in which the senses are engaged in the lesson. First, the child is asked to name the letter and sound it out. Then, the child is asked to trace the letter on the sandpaper whilst sounding it out, after which the child traces the letter into the sand (again sounding it out). Finally, the child looks at the items beginning with the letter in question.
This lesson is the foundation, not only for reading, but for beautiful writing too.
If you’d like further information about this tutorial, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer any questions.
Image Source: Notonthehighstreet.com