SYLLABUS OF MONTESSORI THEORY & METHODS UNIT 4 WRITING AND READING DAY 10 – 12

Pre Home Assignments

Learning Activity 1: Read passage & Meditate (as home assignment): Should read the passages in this unit minimum 3 times. After reading each paragraph, close your eyes & think about the paragraph content in a few minutes.
All students should do all preparations and practices with fullest effort for the live class session too.

Learning Activities for Live Class Session:

Learning Activity 1: Pair Casual Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talk regarding the training they received in writing and reading during their school days and share those experiences regarding writing and reading skills received from their teachers.

Learning Activity 2: Reality Show Competition: Conduct a Reality show Competition like in TV regarding the pronunciation of Alphabets following in Montessori schools. All are participating in 4 rounds:
Round 1: Pronouncing all English Alphabets A-Z without any break
Round 2: Rhyming all English Alphabets A-Z with your favorite film song’s music.
Round 3: Rhyming all English Alphabets A-Z with your favorite folk song’s music.
Round 4: Rhyming all English Alphabets A-Z with music as per student’s choice.
Faculty judges and tells the judgment and marks. One student acts as the anchor.

Learning Activity 3: Group Discussion: Arrange a discussion about the activities followed in Montessori schools for the development of writing and reading skills.

Learning Activity 4: Imaginary Activity practice/ Visualization with closed eyes: Sub: Pre-writing & writing activities in a Montessori House of Children by using all five imaginary senses.

Learning Activity 5: Skit: Plan & present a skit as per the idea written in this unit.

Learning Activity 6: Group Discussion: Arrange a Group Discussion like in TV. All students are participating in the discussion.
Round 1: Purpose and objectives of learning and practicing the content in this theory unit
Round 2: How to apply the knowledge and the ideas in this unit in your life, career and in society.

Learning Activity 7: Face to face Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a TV interview. One acts as Dr. Maria Montessori. The other one asks questions to her regarding the Writing and Reading system following in her school, imagining that she is Dr. Maria Montessori.

Learning Activity 8: Quiz: One person prepares questions regarding Montessori Theory & Methods and conducts a Quiz competition in class.

Learning Activity 9: Learning activity as per students’ choice. Conduct a learning activity as per the choice of lesson activities coordinating group.

Self-Home Assignments & with classmates:

Learning Activity 1: Self Speech in front of Mirror: About Learning Writing in a Montessori School. Talk about it in 5-10 minutes.

Learning Activity 2: Pair Casual Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talk regarding the training they received in writing and reading during their school days and share those experiences regarding writing and reading skills received from their teachers. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Learning Activity 3: Face to face Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a TV interview. One acts as Dr. Maria Montessori. The other one asks questions to her regarding the Writing and Reading system following in her school, imagining that she is Dr. Maria Montessori. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Individual & pair learning activities as Post Home Assignments:

Learning Activity 1: Comparative study: Make a comparative study regarding teaching writing in a Montessori school and in a Non- Montessori School and write your assessment in 1 A4 page in your Assignment Book.

Learning Activity 2: Chart: Write the pre-required skills before teaching writing and reading in a chart paper in an attractive way.

Learning Activity 3: Quotations in Chart Paper: Write 10 popular quotations of Dr. Maria Montessori in a Chart Paper in an attractive way. Eg. “Within the child lies the fate of the future” – Dr. Montessori.

Introduction:

People, especially parents of pre-primary children think the most important thing that happens in schools is reading and writing. In those good old years of the 20th Century and even now in the 21st century learning to read and write is a dull affair. Children were made to learn by heart, words and sentences from books. They recited and repeated them endlessly and copied them on sales and copybooks as exercises. There was little pleasure in this and many children remained illiterate.

Based on past experience Maria thought that children would learn to read and write provided they themselves wanted to learn. It should be fun, playable and pleasurable. Going against the traditional way of teaching reading at first, she began with writing. When she observed children working with her sensory materials, she found they were very sensitive to different degrees of roughness and smoothness. She taught the alphabet based on this sensitivity. All the letters of the alphabet were cut in glass paper and pasted on smooth cardboard pieces. Then the children were encouraged to trace the glass paper with their fingers. It helped them to have a feel of the letter, its shape, its curves, its straight lines etc. Everything about the letter becomes real to the children’s senses. They got a physical knowledge of the letter, and they could move on easily to writing.

Formation of letters becomes fast and feasible. There was another indirect and additional advantage too. The precise and delicate differences between the textures of materials enabled the children to refine their understanding, conduct and character. It gave them an increased sense and sensitivity to the environment and the world at large. Their minds were exposed not only to writing and reading but to the whole spectrum of five senses. Maria’s new method was a splendid success. Gradually children turned from tracing the shapes of the letters of the alphabet to writing.

“They wrote everywhere on doors, on walls, and even at home on loaves of bread. There was an explosion of interest in writing” wrote Maria Montessori. Children in Casa dei Bambini began reading after they had learnt writing. When Maria gave some small children’s books, children did not take any interest in reading them. However, they began reading whatever they could find in the classroom. They read the messages on the board and also the words on the notice. They read the names of shops and sign boards on the road side. Reading books was not necessary and important as reading things in the ‘real’ world. Finally interest came in books in the following way: “A child came to school full of excitement, hiding in his hand a crumpled piece of paper…”‘ Guess what’s in this piece of paper’ ‘There’s nothing. It is just a torn piece of paper’. ‘No, there is a story’. The child had picked up the paper from a rubbish heap”, Maria went on “and he began to read the story. Then at last they grasped the significance of books, and after this the books went like hot cakes”.

Maria Montessori observed and believed that all children were susceptible to learning certain skills at specific ages, which she called ‘Sensitive Periods’. One of these was at the age of four when children could learn simple number facts if presented with appropriate materials. THE DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE, though it is greatly varied and differentiated, is yet a distinctly human skill. Language is essentially a vehicle for communication which promotes interaction among people and brings them together; it communicates our needs, feelings and wishes to one another; it makes it possible for problems to be discussed and solved so that living together becomes smoother and easier.

Language can meet these requirements only if it has the proper thought content and meaning so that people understand one another. It is through language that we maintain social contact with others. An uncritical borrowing of expressions is, in the long run, dangerous and it leads to problems among people. A clear and exact way of expression requires exact observation and an ordering of our impressions. Language is also intimately connected with thinking and perception and it facilitates and promotes the process of thinking.

Dr. Maria Montessori discovered such key-phenomena as the absorbent Mind, the Sensitive Periods, and the polarization of concentration. The Absorbent Mind gives the child the ability, perhaps even before birth, but certainly after birth, to The Absorbent mind, according to Maria Montessori is the unconscious work of intelligence and ear and recognize human voices and to react to this and to absorb it. The Absorbent Mind, according to Maria Montessori, is the unconscious work of intelligence and the beginning of human development.

If a child cannot absorb language or human sounds, then from the beginning he has missed an essential sensitivity for sensory imprinting. He is as a consequence, not able to develop as a healthy child in his actions and thinking. Therefore, it becomes absolutely necessary to ascertain if there is any hearing disability or impairment in the child and to treat it as early as possible. There are apparatus and methods to test an infant for any hearing disorder in all modern hospitals so that therapeutic intervention can be started at the earliest possible age.

Children know many more words than they use in their speech. If you think carefully, you also understand many more words than you use in your speech. When children are about four years of age, they can on average use 1000 words in their speech and are able to understand a larger number of words. Between four to six years, they acquire a larger vocabulary which contains over 10,000 words. After learning to say the word, the child has to learn to use it in the way it is generally used. To do so, the child needs to be familiar with the usage of the word. For example, the use of the word ‘Me’ and ‘I’ as we know two of these words are used to signify the self, but their usage is different. For example “I don’t like this toy”. “Give that book to me”. The child has to know that ‘I’ cannot be used in the second sentence. There is a different relationship between the child’s growing vocabulary and her rapidly developing cognitive ability. In addition to knowing how a word is used, the child must also understand the concept for which the word is a symbol. The understanding of the word is thus related to the understanding of the concept.

Children are able to find and use the right word, only when they have understood the concept. Children in preschool years are able to use and understand words that make comparisons between two objects or people, ie. Compare terms such as larger, shorter, less etc. Initially, when a child hears the words being used in reference to a particular object in a situation, he may use the words in that identical way.

Pre – Reading and Pre -writing Skills

Reading and writing begin to take shape when the child is in the preschool years. The child wants to write his name, draw a flower, read a story and so on. A five year old child picked up a paper bag from the floor. The bag had a colourful picture and something printed on it. He went to his 12 year old cousin and said “should I tell you a story?” She asked “Which story are you going to tell?” He pointed to the picture and said, “This one” His cousin agreed. He then proceeded to make up a story. In the preschool years, children develop awareness about language. They begin to think of what they are saying and learn that can be constructed by the flexible use of words. An awareness that words are made of sound also develops. It becomes vital to provide opportunities that will help them to learn skills which will finally lead to reading and writing. The skills that would be required before the child can read and write are:

1. Control eye movements as the activity of reading requires rapid movements of eyes.
2. Control the movements of the fingers and wrist to hold the Crayon, Chalk or Pencil and the book, and turn pages.
3. See the minute differences in shapes such as ‘E’ and ‘F’ or square and rectangle.
4. Associate sound with shapes.
5. Combine sounds for example, ‘ca’, ‘ce’, etc as in ‘c’ ‘car’, ‘cell’ respectively.
6. Understand part – to whole relationship (this is essential to understand that letters are combined to form words and words are put together to form sentences.)”
7. Understand the meaning of invariance. (This is to understand that letters and words, even if written in a different colour or size, remain the same and are sounded the same way.)
8. Pay attention to a particular task for some time, i.e., have adequate attention span. Remember and classify objects and events.
9. Understand the concept of right and left, up and down as these help to develop reading and writing skills.

The child’s vocabulary increases. The preschool child uses more words and fewer non-verbal cues, i.e., gestures, to communicate meaning. He is able to use comparative terms, like ‘larger’, ‘smaller’ and words that imply location, for example, ‘above’, ‘under’. He can use past present and future tense in his speech. His sentence construction becomes increasingly complex. These developments are a result of the developing cognitive abilities of the child. He is able to understand the concepts of shape, size, space, movement and time which further his language development.

The activities planned for language development should help the child gain control over his muscles, learn to substitute symbols for reality and understand that there is a link between spoken and written language. In their play, children manipulate material, feel and touch and pick things, turn knobs, thread beads, try and complete puzzles. They play with art materials, scribble with pencils or colors on whatever surface they find. These activities provide many opportunities to practice fine motor skills and learn the concept of symbols.

In the pre-school years these skills develop further and between four to six years, the child uses materials with greater control and writes a few letters and numbers. He is aware of the relationship between a visual shape and letter. The skills in the area of language development help the child to use language for a greater variety of purposes. In addition to using language for expressing needs, feelings to give information, make judgments, ask questions and direct one’s own actions, the pre-schooled also uses language to classify events and objects, express fantasy, begin and continue conversations and form and maintain social contact.

Language becomes a vehicle for thought as it integrates speech and actions. Speech is only one form of language. It is the most useful and most widely used form. It is also a difficult skill to master because of its mental aspect. There are two criteria that must be applied to vocal utterances to determine if they are speech:

1. The speaker’s knowledge of the meaning of the word used and 2. The ability to pronounce it is in a way that can be understood by others.

If speech is to be a useful form of communication, the speaker must use words that are meaningful to others and must be able to understand the meaning of the words used by others. Speech contributes to children’s personal and social adjustments by satisfying their needs and wants, by giving them attention from others, by facilitating social relationships, by providing a basis for evaluation by members of social group and for self-evaluation, by contributing to academic achievement, and by enabling children to influence the behavior, thoughts and feelings of others. It is true of learning all skills, speech can be learned by trial and error, by imitation or by training.

Training is the best because it involves guidance in learning to imitate a model. There are six essentials in learning to speak-

•Physical readiness
•Mental readiness
•A good model to imitate and opportunities for practice
•Motivation and guidance.

There are three major tasks in learning to speak: building a vocabulary – both general and special – by associating meaning with words; learning to pronounce words; and combining words into grammatically correct sentences.

Edited & his Methodology applied by: Baba Alexander, New Delhi

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