The babies have really shown an interest in letters lately so I decided last week to begin introducing a letter of the week. The Montessori approach for teaching letters is to focus on letter sounds rather than names. I really like the idea behind this way of teaching. Letter sounds are much more useful in early reading than letter names. I must admit that it has taken some getting used to for me to call an A, /a/(sound) and not "a"(name), but the babies are picking up on the sounds rather quickly so there must be something to it.
In Montessori teaching, letters are introduced with a sandpaper letter activity to provide a whole body experience, associating the sound with the shape. Eventually I plan to make a set of these sandpaper letters but for now we are using a set of textured foam letters to simulate this activity. As an extension of working with our textured letters, I decided to add a little artistic element! I taped the big A down to the table, dipped the babies fingers in paint, and helped them trace the letter while saying the sound. I then let them further explore the letter by freely painting on the textured surface.
When they were threw painting I made a print of the letter on a piece of paper which I plan make into a custom alphabet book for each of them.
This activity was a huge hit and we will definitely continue painting our way through the rest of the alphabet!