A few words about Montessori equipment and how to use it.  Get step-by-step instructions on how to use
Montessori equipment and teach at home with our Montessori Teaching Curriculum.

Our Level One DVD reading components are based on Montessori Sandpaper Letters and Movable
Alphabet Letters.  The Math DVD in Level One is based on the Spindle Boxes, Numbers & Counters, and
Golden Beads.  
The Sandpaper Letters are the first step toward reading.  These letters are made from very fine-grained
sandpaper, which allows children to engage their sense of touch, sight, and sound when they learn the
letter sounds.  

Vowels are mounted on pink or red cards, consonants on pale blue or medium blue cards. Some
teachers introduce cursive first and other feel print letters are best. We vote for print (see item in the
middle of the three stacks) because it provides a direct link to reading.  Introduce your child to one
letter at a time. Start with the letter c.  Use your pointer and index fingers together to trace the letter as
it is written.  Say the sound of the letter when you trace it.  Introduce letters a and t next.  

Do not show your child how to blend the letters to form words. If he or she prompts you or says that
the letter sounds form the word cat, affirm your child observation enthusiastically, and then move to
the Movable Alphabet Letters.
Movable Alphabet Letters are letter cutouts of the lower case letters that allow your child to
handle the actual letter shape. This tactile interaction with the letters themselves is an important
part of the learning process, so we suggest you make or buy letters to use with our DVDs. If you
make them yourself, cut out the letter shapes as shown in the picture above, with the spaces in
the round parts of the b, d, o, and so forth cut out.

Vowels and consonants should be different colors.  Our letters are made out of sturdy glossy
cardboard with rounded safety edges.

When your child has mastered about six to seven letter sounds using the Sandpaper Letters,
introduce those same letters from the Movable Alphabet set. Introduce the c, a, and t. Show your
child how these letters form the word cat.  There is a pretty strict methodology for presentation,
which we discuss in step-by-step detail in our Montessori Introduction to Reading, but the most
important thing is to wait until your child is eager to work with letters and to minimize
instructional verbiage as you present the letter sounds and combinations.  

Your child should work with the Movable Alphabet letters until he or she can form a variety of
words without help.

These cards are introduced after your child has mastered word formation with the Movable Alphabet.
Note that by the time your child can write words with the Movable Alphabet, he or she can also read
Sandpaper Numerals are numbers made out of fine-grained
sandpaper and attached to green cardstock boards.  They are your
child's first introduction to written numbers.  Show your child how to
trace them as they are written, using the index and pointer fingers

Spindle Boxes are your child's first introduction to quantity.  As
shown above, the first Spindle Box has slots for 0 to 4 and the second
box has slots for 5 to 9.
Numbers & Counters reinforce the concept of quantity tied to
numbers.  Introduce the Spindle Box first.  
Tip:  Do not use money for teaching counting. Do teach older
children about coins and paper money in a separate lesson.
Golden Beads sets are a staple piece of math equipment in every
Montessori classroom.  Children see the unit (one) bead forming a
ten-bar, ten
ten-bars forming a hundred square, and, finally, ten hundred-squares
forming a thousand cube.  

It might not seem interesting to adults, but children adore working
with these Golden Beads.  For them, there is something magical about
seeing and handling the quantities.  You can begin with this
introductory set (unit beads and ten bars) when your child is three to
four years old.  

The items not pictured are the hundred square (ten ten-bars linked
together) and the thousand cube (ten hundred-squares linked together
to form a cube).  

This is one piece of equipment you may want to buy for home use
(sorry, we do not sell it ourselves).  If you are up to DIY, try to find
or buy a sample of a ten bar, hundred square, and thousand cube so
you can copy the setup, which is not particularly complex, just a lot
of manual labor. We really like the beads as opposed to the cardboard
cutouts that can be found in the market.

Great ideas for giving
your child a head
start!  My toddler
loves these projects.  
Who knew a boy under
three could have such
concentration!  We're

The Hendricks Family,
Letter Sounds
C stands for
consonant; V
stands for vowel.  
The word "cat" is a
CVC word, and the
word "beak" is a
CVVC word.
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