Toddlers and Primary age children are in what Dr. Montessori called a “sensitive period” for language acquisition.
Toddler and primary age children begin to associate sounds, symbols, and meaning, the foundation of both reading and writing. Our classrooms surround children with language experiences. We provide a balanced literacy program in which informal conversations enrich more formal discussions and interactive “read-aloud” sessions.
At LACMA, children learn to read by writing words and stories using a moveable alphabet of cutout letters. Because children’s mental language abilities develop before their manual ability to form letters, they are encouraged to manipulate these symbols before putting pencil to paper to form letters and words. Children enthusiastically practice phonics skills as they sort attractive objects according to their component sounds, and they experience the thrill of decoding their first books. Reading is a natural outgrowth of mental writing activities, and children often seem to “explode” into reading, a joyful and identifiable moment for child, parent and teacher.
LACMA teachers read to children frequently to help them develop sequencing and conceptualization skills toward critical thinking abilities. They encourage children to predict, to expand, and to connect content to their own lives and to the lives of others.