Child meditating on the beach

Listening to silence, developing literacy

language development literacy montessori

In the Montessori classroom, children love the "Silence Game" as it encourages mindfulness and self-control. Dr Maria Montessori, a pioneer in early childhood education, recognised the importance of silence in fostering focus and self-awareness in young minds. Children choose this activity and sit quietly, often closing their eyes, and heighten their senses to the subtle sounds around them. The anticipation builds as the practitioner whispers each child's name one by one. The moment they hear their name, children rise silently, demonstrating control over their bodies and their excitement.

But the true magic of the Silence Game lies beyond the thrill of hearing their names. In the calm, children become super listeners. They begin to distinguish the finer points of sound – the air conditioner's hum, the rustle of leaves outside, or the gentle chirping of a bird. As they differentiate environmental sounds, they're better equipped to distinguish the phonemes that form spoken words, a crucial first step in reading acquisition.

The Silence Game isn't just about listening to the sounds in the environment that may seem insignificant. It hones children's ability to focus on specific sounds like their names and beautifully translates to the world of written language. When children can hone their listening skills and concentrate on the sounds within a word, decoding becomes smoother and comprehension soars.

Promoting a sense of calm and encouraging children to focus on sounds can help them develop a strong foundation for language and literacy, helping them become confident readers. The best part is that it can be played anywhere and isn't exclusive to the indoor classroom or any fancy equipment.

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