Original Research Paper
Embedding Literacy in an Early Childhood Education Programme: A Look into Montessori
By Sheilpa Patel
University of Waikato
Patel, S. (2012). Embedding literacy in an early childhood education programme: A look into Montessori. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 15, 11-30.
Children begin school with a range of pre-literacy skills that serve as the foundation for later reading achievement. These skills include phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge and vocabulary. The New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki is non-prescriptive in terms of literacy and allows for early childhood centres to develop their own literacy programmes with varying levels of emphasis on pre-literacy skills. This article describes research into the pre-literacy skills and knowledge of 23 children between the ages of 4.6 and 4.11 months attending two Montessori centres in New Zealand where the Head Teachers are Montessori trained and the centres use traditional Montessori resources and materials to develop literacy. The researcher investigated the efficacy of a Montessori approach to the development of literacy skills in four year olds in the context of current research around pre-literacy skills development in early childhood education.
Key words: Literacy, Montessori, reading skills.
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