What is it?
Early childhood is a 'sensitive period' for developing literacy skills. Children start learning the language around them from the time they are born. An environment rich in oral literacy is extremely important. In fact, a 'word gap' of two to three times can be seen even amongst three-year-olds from different family backgrounds. This has flow-on effects through school and onwards.
Areas of Literacy
Children start learning pre-literacy skills from birth. The most important of these is oral language skills including vocabulary building and sentence formation. The Montessori Children's House provides a strong language focus as this responds to the needs and interests of this age group.
In order to read, children need to be able to recognise letters, associate them with sounds and blend these sounds together. The skill of 'decoding' words progresses in stages of increasing difficulty. Children often find great pleasure from this highly useful skill and will start reading everything around them.
Early writing skills develop together with phonemic awareness and reading skills. Fine motor skills, hand strength and drawing skills are also important for early writing. Early writing progresses through obvious stages. Children will spontaneously start writing when they are ready.