In Montessori, it is recommended to start with lower case letters first because 99% of the times we read and write in lower case letters and hence it makes sense to learn lower case letters first. Also the letters are read as their sounds – called as phonics and not as the letter names. So in Montessori, letter sounds are taught before letter names which helps the child to grasp the concept of reading easily. For ex: letter ‘a’ is read as ‘aa’ and not ‘A’. Hope it makes sense.
I made the mistake of introducing capital letters first and saw Raisha struggle to recognize letters in her story books. That is when I realized, I should have started with lower case letters . I have now started introducing phonics to her and these sand paper letters from Skola grabbed my attention.
About skola toys:
Skola toys are manufacturers of wonderful wooden Montessori toys from India. I already have a few toys from them and the quality is excellent. I think Skola is the only brand in India who manufacture Montessori learning toys. They have a wide variety of unique toys which help in early learning and development. I highly recommend to check them out more so, if you are following the Montessori approach.
I will talk about their sand paper letters here in the post and how they can be used in reading and writing.
What are sand paper letters?
These are wooden boards on which letters cut from sand papers are mounted. You can find upper case letters, lower case letters, cursive letters and also numbers.
The set from Skola includes 26 wooden cards with sandpaper letters pasted on them, red cards for consonants & blue for vowels, a wooden tray for stacking the cards, a detailed instruction manual all packed in a beautiful Skola Doodle box. I have their Sand paper letters in lower case.
How can we use them?
Before starting with the sand paper letters it is better if the child is already familiar with letter sounds/phonics.
The child traces the letter with 2 fingers, learning the letter sound. For ex: child traces the letter ‘a’ with his 2 fingers and voices the sound ‘aa’. Once the child is familiar with all the sounds, he can start forming short words using the sand paper letters. Learning sounds and lower case letters first, helps in reading words easily.
Sand paper letters help :
- Recognize a sound corresponding to the letter symbol
- Prepare for reading and writing
- Develop visual and tactile perception of letters
- Develop motor memory of the letter form and orientation of the letter formation as the child traces the letters with his fingers
Why is it recommended?
Children are sensitive to touch and so the sandpaper letters become a multi sensory learning tool as it uses touch, sound and sight.
We have just started our pre writing journey and as I have started exploring, I have learnt that sand paper letters are a very important part in the Montessori way of learning.
The Skola sandpaper letters are safe for the young hands, they are not very rough. They provide the required sensory input for the young minds, are very well made and of high quality. You can also check their sandpaper letters for upper case, cursive letters and numbers as well, we are surely going to pick them up the next time we are in India.
The packaging from Skola needs a special mention 🙂 Skola toys come wrapped in card box boxes with doodles, they also send in a set of chunky crayons for little ones to color on these boxes. I mean how smart and useful is their packaging, absolutely love this idea. Plus they send in a detailed manual explaining about the toy, what skills can be developed using the toy and how the toy can be used. Their packaging too gets a big thumbs up from me along with their toys.
You can buy the same lower case sand paper letters here
Highly recommend to check the Skola website here