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Preschool: The Movable Alphabet

“Sss…sss…ssss…sun!” a child exclaimed as he proudly placed a toy sun into his dump truck and rolled it back to the work rug. A teacher worked with a small group of children to fetch each object and match them to the corresponding initial letter sound from the movable alphabet. The children were thrilled to roll the truck back and forth, bringing movement and fun to practicing letter sounds.

The movable alphabet is an important material in every authentic Montessori classroom. Maria Montessori developed it when she realized that children have the mental capacity to analyze the sounds in words before they could read them. The key purpose of the movable alphabet is to prepare children for writing, reading and spelling. The material can be used in many different ways for children at many different levels. While one child might be practicing building words or phrases another may be working on building sentences and stories. Writing with the movable alphabet is the beginning of self-expression. It teaches children how to symbolize their own thoughts and begin to write creatively.

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