A common complaint from people interested in Montessori is the cost associated with the materials. Maria Montessori wrote about having beautiful and appealing things available for children, but at what cost? I constantly walk the fine line between providing quality materials and breaking the bank. I asked myself, “how can I provide her with a meaningful experience, keep the heart of the Montessori philosophy while also being frugal?” The movable alphabet is a lesson I wanted to present, but it can take up a lot of space and is potentially expensive. I decided to make my own set and want to share it with you. If you’re interested in reading more about this lesson click here for an in depth explanation.
I started by printing off this movable alphabet from Montessori Print Shop because the pink and blue letters match our sandpaper letters. I used card stock paper for extra durability and laminated the sheets before cutting out the letters. If you’re creating materials at home, I highly recommend investing in a laminator and a paper trimmer similar to these. They will significantly cut your preparation time down and help you make beautiful materials that will last. I found this organizer for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby! It has 15 small compartments (for letters), 1 large compartment (for phonetic pictures) and is the perfect size for the printable letters I mentioned earlier. Even though I need two boxes to house the entire alphabet, it’s a steal for under $4.
It’s not perfect and some may argue I’m diluting the lesson with these materials, but it works for us. I’m part of a Montessori Facebook group and someone recently suggested that while teaching our children, we should focus on the intent or purpose of the material. This lesson helps my daughter to analyze and explore language with letter symbols and is preparing her for reading and writing. Mission accomplished.