Edition 3 | April 2018

Exploding into Literacy

The 3-6 Children’s House is a language rich environment.

Exploding into Literacy

Pippa Bettison, Director 3-6 Environment

New vocabulary is being learned every day, most of it orally. As the child ‘explodes’ into literacy, all that knowledge and verbal storytelling, based on that factual knowledge becomes a bank of storytelling topics. The child is free to follow their interests in choosing the topics they begin to write about. The tool primarily used to develop story writing is the Movable Alphabet. From the moment of familiarity with half of the letter sounds of the alphabet the child has been familiarising themselves with word construction and enjoying the freedom to construct whatever words they wish to.

By the time they are ready to construct sentences and simple stories, they have experienced many true stories told orally and have a rich bank of their own personal experiences to draw from. Without being constrained by paper and pencil and the challenges that go along with physical writing, the child is free to explore writing creatively. Most stories begin with “I went…” and usually relate true events from their daily life, places they have been and what they did there. However, it is not long before the events of the everyday are replaced by fanciful adventures, in which the child often becomes a world traveller and has many wonderful experiences along the way, all of which are nevertheless, far from being fantastical in nature. They draw their ideas from what they have experienced and what they have learned and within such learning are the most amazing phenomena and the most surprising facts that the child’s mind is expanded and inevitably included in their stories.

In this way, developing creativity based on knowledge and truth, storytelling becomes engaging, enjoyable and an activity that is embarked upon with enthusiasm and thorough enjoyment.

“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies but the first one, the period from birth to age six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement is being formed.” Maria Montessori