Modern Writing in Montessori
Thoughts & Reflections
We’re very concerned with preparing children for the future. It’s a very unsteady time to be a parent. The world has changed more in the past ten years than in the past hundred, and things really aren’t slowing down. We’re using more technology for more common daily activities, and one thing is for sure — it’s not going anywhere.
So what do we do? How do we prepare children for a world we can’t even begin to imagine, a world they’ll help create, a world where so much is unknown?
We’re biased, but Montessori seems to have so many answers. Some people are worried that these ancient materials won’t appropriately prepare children for a technologically advanced life, but they absolutely are.
As we’ve discussed previously, more and more, interpersonal skills, social skills, also called “soft skills” can be great indicators of success not only for academics, but also later in life.
Additionally, there are materials that prepare children for academic skills in a very modern way. Materials that have been used by generations of children, but are still current and in-line with our modern lifestyle.
Take for example, writing.
When we say a child was working on writing, we get a very clear image: a pencil and a piece of paper.
And yet, if I were to write a note to a friend, more often than not, it would be by text or by email, no pencils, no paper. This composition is often what is meant when a child is first working on writing in the Primary Montessori setting. Writing starts with a material called the Moveable Alphabet.
A child knows what they want to say. The know what sounds they hear in a word, and what shapes, or letters, make that sound. Put these skills together, and you’re writing!
Penmanship, or handwriting, is a different, though just as important. It’s a different skill set, using an implement to represent an image I can visualize in my mind. We present this tool for composition, the Moveable Alphabet, since the handwriting skill is still getting ready, and we don’t want to hold a child back from developing those composition skills.
Think of how much faster we write using a keyboard or our phones. It’s a similar process for children with the Moveable Alphabet. It’s all writing, and it all comes together, when the skills can develop at their own pace.
There are a hundred examples just like this one — the decimal system introduced when a child is maybe four or five preparing them for coding or for calculus, the dexterity honed using the same muscles in buttoning or stringing beads as in a surgeon or the engineer developing the robotics for even more advanced surgical techniques. Maybe the reason these hundred-year-old materials still pertain to our advanced and ever-changing world is because, though society has evolved, humanity hasn’t with the same speed; children are children and still need to learn the same skills in order to help shape the world of tomorrow.
Written by:Charlotte Snyder