Quality Infant, Toddler and 
Primary Care
Sunflower Montessori School - The Primary Classroom Environment: Writing

Writing is a complete act that requires intellectual process combined with manual dexterity and is the ability to express thoughts with graphic symbols. Activities that make this possible were of special interest to Dr. Montessori, who realized the great importance of indirect preparation: the child had prepared his hand and his mind to then be able to write. When all of the components of language come together and the child realizes he or she can write, it becomes what Montessori calls an “explosive phenomenon”.

When writing is introduced, the child’s sensitive periods are helping the child investigate his environment. The child is attracted to order, and there is order in writing, such as how to make the letters, the sounds represented by letters, and the structure of the language.

The child has been prepared for writing through his past experiences in the classroom, which begins with the sound games, to help the child realize that words are made up of sounds. Then the child is introduced to the Sandpaper Letters to help him or her become aware that each sound has a symbol.

With the Movable Alphabet, the child was able to put a thought into symbols first by “writing” a single word, then a phrase, then a complete sentence and finally a story. Metal insets will help the child to learn how to correctly hold a pencil, give practice for the different strokes, help the child learn about pencil pressure, and make the hand ready for handwriting.

The refinement of the senses aids the child in learning to write by the child’s heightened interest in the nuances of perceptions. Clear perception helps the child write better and to assess his own work. Refinement of movement is also very helpful for the child who is learning to write. He is interested in the movement of making the letter. Touch is irresistible to a child and he will make conscious attempts to stabilize his movement as he begins to work with the writing Exercises.

The child’s mind helps him to absorb the images of the letters and also helps absorb the importance of writing. This contributes to the child’s deep desire to write. The children will come to realize that writing is not just any marks put on paper but is made of special marks that have distinct meaning.

Communication is a human tendency and writing gives the child this satisfaction. Mastery of writing is developmentally important because it is a major part in the child’s adaptation in the environment and gives the child another level of independence. Writing with the Movable Alphabet will come a few months before handwriting. Just before the child begins to write, he or she will begin to read. After that, writing and reading will develop in parallel and each will support the development of the other.

After the child has learned to write, development Exercises will help the child bring his handwriting to a higher level. All of the children will learn to write but each does so in his own way. Uniqueness is fixed when the mechanism of writing is well established. What is set in the child tends to remain fairly well intact throughout adulthood and highlights how important the preparations are, so this childhood acquisition will be correctly set.

The practical skill of writing enables the child to write creatively. Eventually, through the exercise and materials in the classroom the child will be able to put his or her own thoughts into words and created pieces of personal expression.

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Adapted from The Best Beginning- Montessori Infant-Toddler Programs @ http://www.montessori.org 
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