Montessori Language Arts
The Story of Communication in Signs and Introduction to Writing
The Fourth Great Story, the Story of Communication in Signs, helps to answer the question of why human beings would want to start communicating in signs in the first place.
Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.
Writing is an ever-present activity in the Montessori Elementary classroom, and it is one that the children love taking part in. Although the children are first exposed to the alphabet through the sandpaper letters in Casa Dei Bambini, through the Fourth Great Story the children realize that, by engaging in writing, they become part of the grand story that connects human beings past, present, and future.
In the Elementary years, the focus is on writing a lot, and Spelling is secondary. In order to support good writing, we begin a progression of weekly spelling tests, with each child receiving a standard weekly list of words appropriate for their age and year level.
Students in the Elementary Montessori classroom take great pleasure in reading. Learning in context brings meaning and purpose to their explorations, which encourages children to work to perfect their reading so they can read widely and independently, to write creatively, to interpret drama, and to read widely as they explore the answers to these important questions.
There is a high level of emphasis on grammar in the Montessori curriculum, but not as a prescriptive list of arbitrary rules passed down from an ivory tower. Instead, children discover the natural rules of English by interacting with the language materials in the classroom. This process of discovery makes the exploration of grammar very enjoyable for the children and the Grammar Boxes are often the most popular materials in the class!
During the cycle time in the classroom, the English-speaking teacher provides small-group lessons and support for work in the class and the Chinese-speaking teacher encourages the extension of the Montessori work using Chinese language Montessori materials. In addition, each child participates in a forty-five minute Chinese lesson given in small groups targeted at the Chinese language level and ability of each child.