Here is a great Montessori inspired activity that my preschool class has been enjoying lately to practice identifying and spelling names. We try to do lots of fine motor activities, so I thought this would be a fun way to combine letter recognition. While my preschool is not an official Montessori, I certainly try to incorporate Montessori techniques into our learning on a daily basis.
This wooden lacing kit is made by Melissa and Doug, and I found that it simplified my prep time. Any sort of letter beads could be used instead though. It was important to me to be able to separate the letters out, so that the correct ones could be easily found. This definitely achieved that purpose, and there were several to choose from. I also realized that some children would need close supervision with so many lacing beads, yet others could let me know when (or if) they would need my assistance.
First, I went through all the children in the class and wrote their names for them. While I traditionally only try to use a capital letter and the rest lower case, I felt that I needed to put their name in all upper case letters as well since that is what these specific letters are. Then I showed them how to find the letter in the box that matched the letter on their name card. I laced my entire name through with their help, then it was their turn. I let them find their own names (and helped if needed) to help with name recognition, they then chose whichever lace they wanted. The very proficient four years olds completed this task well, but the younger ones were allowed extra freedom and flexibility. They mostly focused on finding some letters in their name or even letters that they liked. My philosophy is that as long as they are engaged and enjoy what I am working with them on, that’s more important than whether they are doing it exactly right.