“Words are bonds between men, and the language they use develops and ramifies according to the needs of the minds. Language, we may say, grows with human thought.”
Language in the Montessori environment focuses on three distinctive, yet related stages. The three main areas are Spoken Language, Written Language, and Reading. Spoken Language is the first area that the child encounters, even in life. This includes both speaking and listening skills. The purpose of this area is to enrich the child’s vocabulary and to provide the child with tools to communicate with others in the community. This area is designed to meet the child’s innate need to communicate. After having a diverse bank of vocabulary, sounds are gradually introduced to the children. These are then followed by the symbols that are associated with the sounds, which opens up the next chapter of learning – Writing. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that in a lot of instances, children’s minds are ready to form words, however their hands are not ready to write. She developed materials for the children such that they can form words with moveable alphabets. Through this exercise and ones that strengthen the pincer grip, the children will eventually begin to write. Reading is the last to come in the Montessori environment as this stage requires a solid foundation of the association between the sounds and symbols. Children are required to decipher and recombine the letters in the word to sound out the word. Exercises in the environment will introduce the children to phonetic reading, then gradually moving into phonograms.