When the mind is ready, but the hand is not, children are introduced to writing by way of the Montessori Moveable Alphabet.
If you are familiar with Montessori, you have probably seen the 'real' Montessori Moveable Alphabet. There are variations in font (some cursive, some print) and in color (some pink & blue, others red & blue). They can also vary in the materials used - the highest quality is wood, then vinyl, plastic, and paper.
The wooden Montessori Moveable Alphabet gives the children the greatest sensorial experience possible; they hear the sounds, feel the shape of the letter in their hands, and manipulate each sound as they construct the words.
The Montessori Moveable Alphabet gives a child's mind the ability to express itself in written words without the need to be able to manipulate a pencil. It's a beautiful piece of Montessori work.
Now let's talk about the reality.
Make your own moveable alphabet
Many people (parents, caregivers, and teachers) don't have the funds, access, space, etc., to be able to give their child the 'real' Montessori Moveable Alphabet. Wouldn't it be a shame to ignore the basic concept of the Montessori Moveable Alphabet just because you couldn't afford the 'real' thing? So don't ignore it. Take the concept of the Moveable alphabet and make it work for your situation.
Our version of the Montessori Moveable Alphabet is easy to make, inexpensive, smaller in size, easily stored, and portable! It's educational fun that can be taken on holidays visiting friends, and perfect for educational co-ops!
1. Visit your local Wal-Mart, Michaels, Target, or Craft store.
Look for a storage container that has 26 spaces. Look in the hardware section and the fishing aisle, and don't forget the craft area! Example - this bead container, purchased from Wal-Mart for under $6 CDN.
If you're going to use our printable Montessori Moveable Alphabets, then you'll have to make sure the letters will fit into the spaces. The spaces will need to be at least 1¼" x 1¾" for our letters to fit. Any container will do, but it's best if the lid is tight against the dividers so that the letters don't spill over into each other.
2. Print your letters onto cardstock.
We recommend 110lb cardstock for durability.
3. Laminate your sheets of letters.
Use at least a 3mil laminate - a 5mil laminate is even better.
Many times we recommend that paper materials are cut out first, laminated, and then trimmed - leaving a laminate edge. We don't feel this is necessary with this work due to the age of the children who will likely be using it. Most children are 4+ years old when they begin work with the Moveable Alphabet (this work comes after working with the sandpaper letters and knowing at least 12-14 phonetic sounds). At the age of almost 5 years, the children should be careful enough and respectful enough of the materials that the letters do not require a laminate edge. But please, use your own judgment.
4. Cut all the letters out and load them into the box.
Use a paper cutter if you have it - it's faster and makes nice straight cuts!
5. Use either real objects or printed picture cards to assist the child with creating new words.
The picture cards are from our Blue Series Moveable Alphabet Photos.
Not sure how to present the Montessori Moveable Alphabet? We include a step-by-step presentation with the printable Moveable Alphabet in our Shop.