Written Language

Introduction to Writing

Writing is the graphic expression of spoken language, a spontaneous and explosive early developmental activity, if the necessary Indirect Preparations are made.  We write in response to our need to be understood by others – over time and space.  Mechanical Writing is a preparation for Creative Writing and Reading.  It is the culmination of a process which starts with thoughts in the mind being identified as unspoken words, splitting these words into sounds, identifying the symbols which can be made to stand for the sounds and having the skill to create the symbols on paper according to convention. For this process the child needs mental (intellectual) and manual (technical) skills.

The thoughts the child writes are her own, writing makes them visible.  She moves from the known method of oral expression, sorting the word into phonemes, abstracting the phonemes into graphemes and producing writing.  Reading comes later because to do this she must translate the grapheme into it’s phoneme and then synthesis it into a word, (synthesising phonemes and understanding another’s thoughts are extra processes which writing does not entail).


Sign up for our email course that will guide you through the Montessori approach to the Casa.

All proceeds will go towards maintining Montessori Commons and improving the quality of the content.

Pay what you can

Find Out More

I A Indirect Intellectual Preparations

  1. Listening to the child, from the first sounds she makes, giving her freedom to make proto-speech and encouraging her to do so.
  2. Opportunities to orally express one’s ideas and to listen to others
  3. ‘Three Period Lesson’; an opportunity to enrich the quality and quantity of vocabulary
  • Nouns are given clearly and precisely in the Environment Cards and Orientation Games
  • Verbs are given in the naming of each Exercises of Practical Life
  • Adjectives are given after the Sensorial Materials have been used with confidence a few times
  1. Continuously through the presentation of fluid language in conversations with the Director
  2. Grace and Courtesy demonstrates and rehearses polite local phrases of greeting, excusing, offering and thanking
  3. News Period is a daily and spontaneous opportunity for oral sharing, sharpening the speaking and listening skills.
  4. Classification Pictures of the immediate Environment and involvement in Cultural Activities heighten the child’s awareness of using precise terms and gives material which the child can later reflect on when writing.
  5. Simplified, interesting, factual stories expressed in a clear and lively manner help the child adapt  to her immediate environment and indirectly prepare the way for a love of books, a love of language and firming her Link of Love.
  6. Repeating Poems and Songs helps the child to explore meaning and rhythm.  Music is a purposeful small group activity.
  7. Language training is given through conversation, songs, poems, stories, oral activity games and activities, such as the Question Game, which builds up the clarity of thought, an awareness of sentence structure and the logical construction of stories around a central theme, indirectly preparing for both Creative Writing and Total Reading.
  8. Acoustic impressions are aided by the sound boxes, bells, I SPY and Oral Phonetical Awareness Activities which develop listening skills and an awareness of and ability to analyse words into their component sounds.
  9. Sand Paper Letters connect the phoneme to the Grapheme, using Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic senses
  10. Verbal games with the Function of Word Activities
  11. The lengthy Sensitive Period for Language and the child’s innate tendencies for curiosity and gregariousness (amongst others) are used in different ways as the child matures through this Plane of Development.

I B Direct Intellectual Preparations

  1. An awareness of the letters – mentally, sensorially and physically is done with the Sand Paper letters
  2. Sound Games help the child to isolate the phoneme
  3. The formation of words with the Movable Alphabet to express her thoughts in a graphic manner

II A Indirect Physical Preparations

For manual dexterity the child needs prehensile co-ordination, the three-fingered grip and a strong, agile wrist and the necessary, sufficient firmness to hold the writing instrument, to be able to draw well defined well defined shapes, confidently and fluently.  The child acquires Muscular Memory which allows her to improve and fix the movements she makes with the instrument within the bounds in a horizontal direction, forming letters steadily and with agility.  She must also acquire the lightness of touch, to move the instrument fluidly over the writing surface

  1. Exercises of Practical Life build muscle strength and co-ordinate the writing fingers when the child learns to open and close bottles, to polish, wash, pour and use frames
  2. Sensorial Materials help in a variety of ways;
  • knobs develop the three finger grip
  • small figures of the Pink Tower and Brown Stair help prehensile co-ordination
  • the Rough and Smooth boards 2, 3 and 4 and the Cabinets and Frames develop a steady and firm hand.
  • all the tactile materials and Sand Paper Globe develop the light, floating movement  from a free arm
  • the sound boxes assist in the development of a strong agile wrist

II B Direct Physical Preparations

The drawing inset directly helps the child develop mastery over the writing instrument, bringing together all of the previous motor-technical preparations.

Only when the child has an interest, the mental preparations and the skills will she be able to record her thoughts with the graphic symbols.  Observing other children writing stimulates her to begin writing compositions creatively and with careful presentation.

The Preliminary Activity to writing is Sound Recognition 

Sound Recognition


A week or so before giving Sandpaper Letters the child needs to listen to the sounds of familiar phonetic words.  Decide on the first three letters you will present to an individual child and use these first.  This can be done as a group presentation to a group of children who are nearly ready to work with the Sand Paper Letters, as children will help each other, explain to the children that only the one you ask will answer.  Alternatively, it can be done as an individual presentation, also do this activity informally as part of conversation.


  • Invite a few children, saying to one specific child: “I am going to say a word, e.g. ‘Africa’, the first sound I hear is ‘a’, do you also hear ‘a’ when I say ‘Africa’?”
  • Repeat the word and sound a few times, allow the child to do so as well, until she is able to identify the initial sound.
  • Ask another child to identify the final sound in the word in the same way.
  • Ask another child to identify any sounds she can hear in the middle of the word.
  • Continue giving words for all the Consonants and Green Sand Paper letters

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • Social Control

Direct Aim:

  • To build awareness of the sounds of spoken language and thereby become aware that one’s language is made up of articulate sounds.
  • To identify phonemes in sequence

Indirect Aim:

  • To help the child to prepare herself for writing and reading

Age at Presentation:

When the child knows a few consonants


Play in conjunction with I Spy

Introduction to Sandpaper Letters

Oral activities help the child to enrich her vocabulary and her phonetical awareness throughout her time in the Casa; having developed some phonetical awareness her stage of development requires a kinaesthetic and visual sensorial explorations for ‘fix’ the auditory sense of the varied volatile phonemes she has learnt.

When performing “Mechanical Reading” the child sees the phonemes produced as graphemes in a manner which serves her present needs.  She uses the letters to help her durably associate their visual, auditory and kinaesthetic aspects, tracing the letters while looking at them and saying their phoneme.  This is very different to the way adults use them (she does not know their conventional sequence, their formal names and she is not a “Total Reader”).

The child is prepared to trace the letters with spontaneous interest as she is in the Sensitive Period for the Co-ordination of Movement and her technical ability to have a lightness of touch has been refined through the Sensorial Materials.

The letters are divided into Vowels and Consonants.

Vowels are produced by vibrations of the vocal chords – they are ‘voiced air’, modulated by different positions of the tongue, lips, they are few in number as their is a muscular limitation to the amount of sounds which can be produced in this way.

Consonants are produced by “voiced’ and ‘unvoiced air’, as air passes around obstacles formed by the throat, tongue, palette and teeth.

Scripts, capitalisation, fonts and the size of letters differ.  In the Casa we begin with non-capitalised, cursive script as this requires the most complex motor patterns and thereby brings interest to the child in this Sensitive Period and allows younger children in to refine their skills to a greater degree.

Sandpaper Letters

Material Description:

These are letters in Sand Paper pasted onto the right side of a wooden tablet (the left side is kept bare to help the child learn how to orientate the direction of the letter and to allow the left flattened palm to comfortably keep the tablet still).  The size of each tablet varies according to the height of the letter – each letter is in proportion to the others.  Vowels are pasted onto blue tablets, Consonants onto pink ones.

Box 1 – The 5 Vowels – a,e,i,o,u

Box 2 – The 10 Prolongables – f,h,l, m, n, r, s, y, z, v

Box 3 – 3 Hard explosives – p,k,t

Box 4 – 4 Soft explosives – g,w,b,d

Box 5 – 4 Remainders – c,j,q,x

Box 6 – 15 Green letters – ai, ee, ie, oa,

ue (or short oo),

ar, er, or, sh, ch, th, oy, ou, qu, ng (au used to be included but as few simple words contain au it is not always there)


Have a stand on which a few Sand Paper letters can be kept on display, to interest even the youngest children.


  • Invite the child saying, “You have been listening to the sounds in different words, let us see how we write the sounds”.
  • Take three cards which contrast in shape and sound e.g. ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘m’ (one prolongable and two vowels, pick letters that can be used to build her name or favourite item)
  • While the child sensitises her fingers arrange the letters so that they are turned letter side down on the top of the chowki
  • Turn over the letter on the right top corner
  • Trace it lightly and smoothly with the right index and middle fingers(fingers, hand and arm flat and low at 45 degrees to letter), ensure that the child can clearly see your movements
  • When the characteristic part of the letter is reached make the simplest phonetic sound associated with it e.g. the dot of an ‘i’, the vertical of a ‘t’
  • Suggest that the child repeats the tracing, if she does not make the sound make it yourself
  • After introducing these items give the Three Period Lesson
  • Turn over the other letters, tracing and identifying them
  • Remove the initial card ‘a’, saying, “I am going to say the word ‘mat’, can you hear the sound ‘a’ when I say the word ‘mat”, repeat a few times.
  • Give additional phonetically identical words, asking if ‘a’ can be heard at the beginning, middle and end.
  • Do the same for words containing ‘i’ and ‘m’
  • Keep precise records charting the dates presentations of each letter has been given to the child and note when they are mastered


Exercise 1

  • When a few children know some letters ask them to look and recall the phoneme attached to the grapheme, saying, “Only the child I ask will say the sound”, show one child the Sand Paper Letter, allow her to trace it and say the sound.  Give each child a turn.

Exercise 2

  • Place some letters on a mat, say the sound and call one chld to identify it, trace it and give it’s phoneme

Exercise 3

  • Give a letter to each child, in turn trace it and say it’s phoneme, then reveal the letter to the Director and peers

Exercise 4

  • Use other games ask the children to write with their toes, trace the letters on each others palms and backs and guess it, have a sand box too

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The adult controls the sound, the tracing movement is aided by the tactile sense

Direct Aim:

  • To build awareness of the sounds of spoken language and thereby become aware that one’s language is made up of articulate sounds, through her visual and kinaesthetic experiences.

Indirect Aim:

  • To help the child prepare for writing and reading

For Writing

  • Writing fingers absorb motor patterns which will be used when tracing letters
  • Kinaesthetic memory retains these patterns
  • Graphemes are associated with auditory, visual and kinaesthetic senses
  • The child becomes aware that sounds which make up words must be known to write them

For Reading

  • The child becomes familiar with the graphemes and phoneme, as her visual memory retains the patterns as a preparation for reading

Age at Presentation:

Two and a half years, after experience with the Rough and Smooth boards, Geometric Cabinet, Sound Boxes, I SPY and the preliminary activities of Oral Phonetical Awareness


  • The first three Boxes are given first, follow the child’s interest and own name when selecting them.
  • Children who have problems with language should be given all the Sand Paper letters before moving to the Movable Alphabet
  • Writing is not being taught here, the child will inevitably teach herself based on these preparations, parents need to be informed about this process to prevent pressure on the child’s intellectual and motor skills which are still being developed.

Oral Phonetic Analysis


  • Say to a child who has been working with the Sand Paper Letters for some time, “I am going to say a word, listen carefully, try to find the last sound you hear”
  • Say a word, e.g. ‘table’
  • The child repeats and finds the last phoneme, e.g. ‘ul’
  • Continue giving words with all of the Sand Paper Letters, including the green ones

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • Social control

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise that her language is made up of sounds
  • To identify phonemes in sequence

Indirect Aim:

  • To help the child to prepare herself for writing and reading

Age at Presentation:

When the child knows a few consonants


Play this activity with a small group of children as a game as above, then later use the first sound and eventually the first and last sounds together.

The Movable Alphabet

We present the Movable Alphabet when

  1. The child shows interest and has the capacity to recognise several sounds in one word
  2. The child knows all of the vowels and has at least seven consonants (a few prolongables and a few hard explosives)
  3. A list has been prepared with two-word phrases that can be spent phonetically with the symbols the child knows.

Material Description:

  • Word List: A list of interesting phrases of perfectly phonic words and phrases, using the letters the child knows
  • Banded Mats in two colours, with five strips of identical width, the size of which corresponds to the shape of the letter, two above and two below the main pat of the letter.  Each mat has three or four sections of this so the child can write in a list.
  • Box 1: four horizontal rows each divided into many compartments,with white bases and a copy of each letter in the respective colour on the base.  Inside each compartment are wooden the letters of the Roman Alphabet, with the same cursive font as those of the Sand Paper Letters in a smaller size.

The first row is divided into five compartments, each containing ten of each vowel in blue.  The second, third and fourth rows have seven compartments containing five of each consonants:

Second row – m, c, n, r, s,v,x

Third row – w,b,d,h,k,l,t

Fourth row – p,f,g,j,q,y,z

  • Box 2: all the letters in print or cursive in one colour and in a much smaller size, placed in sequence.  Have at least two boxes with whole sets coloured differently
  • Box 3: contains all the letters in print and full range of punctuation. Have at least two boxes with whole sets coloured differently



  • Invite the child, saying, “You have been listening to the sounds of words, now let us listen and see if we can recognise all the sounds from the beginning to the end of the word, in order, and say them”
  • The child carefully carries the Movable Alphabet to a Working Mat
  • Let the child bring the anded Mat
  • Familiarise the child with Box 1 by asking her to find the letters she knows.
  • Remove a few of the letters the child knows and let her make the associated sound and replace them


  • Invite the child, saying, “Let us listen to al the sounds in the phrase ‘pink insets’”
  • Pronounce the first word a usual
  • Ask the child, “What is the first sound you hear when I say ‘pink’?”, say it aloud a few times, sometimes repeating the question
  • The child will either give the sound, ‘p’ or you can give it.
  • Let the child find ‘p’ in the Box, say the word slowly, analysing it.
  • When the child brings the letter show her where to place it on the Banded Mat (near the left edge of the correct stripe)
  • Touch the letter, ‘p’, and ask ”What do you hear after the sound ‘p’, when I say ‘pink’?”  Keeping your eyes of the initial letter repeat the question a few times, as though talking to yourself, while waiting for the child to answer
  • The child will either give the sound, ‘i’ or you can give it.
  • Let the child find ‘i’ in the Box, say the word slowly, analysing it.
  • When the child brings the letter show her where to place it on the Banded Mat (to the right of ‘p’)
  • Touch the letter, ‘i’, and ask ”What do you hear after the sound ‘i’, when I say ‘pink’?”  Keeping your eyes of the initial letter repeat the question a few times, as though talking to yourself, while waiting for the child to answer
  • The child will either give the sound, ‘n’ or you can give it.
  • Let the child find ‘i’ in the Box, say the word slowly, analysing it.
  • When the child brings the letter show her where to place it on the Banded Mat (to the right of ‘i’)
  • Touch the letter, ‘n’, and ask ”What do you hear after the sound ‘i’, when I say ‘pink’?”  Keeping your eyes on the initial letter repeat the question a few times, as though talking to yourself, while waiting for the child to answer
  • The child will either give the sound, ‘k’ or you can give it.
  • Let the child find ‘k’ in the Box, say the word slowly, analysing it.
  • When the child brings the letter show her where to place it on the Banded Mat (to the right of ‘n’)
  • Touch the letter, ‘k’, and ask ”What do you hear after the sound ‘k’, when I say ‘pink’?”  Keeping your eyes of the initial letter repeat the question a few times, as though talking to yourself, the child answers, ‘nothing’
  • Say, “We have listened to all the sounds in the word ‘pink’”, now continue with the word ‘insets’, showing the child how to keep a space between words.
  • When completed do not read the words
  • Give other phrases like, ‘hot sun’, ‘fat rat’
  • The letters are put away only when many words have been written, as the child can have the satisfaction of seeing her efforts and the Director has the opportunity to identify reoccurring misapprehensions
  • To tidy say, “Let’s find the letters which are the same” and group all of one letter together, then replace them in the correct compartment stacking them neatly and with care.
  • When the child has written many three letter words ask her to think of words she would like to write without being concerned about spelling.
  • Use the Banded Mat for the first few times, afterward put the letters directly onto the Working Mat
  • The child begins to use Box 2 when she is familiar with most of the Green letters
  • Box 3 is introduced much later, for stories and longer compositions

Direct Aim:

  • To further the child’s experience with exploration and analysis of her known language
  • To prepare the child for writing by linking the oral word to it’s graphic symbols

Indirect Aim:

  • To help the child prepare for writing and reading

For Writing

  • By acquiring the capacity to auditorily recognise all the sounds successively and connect them to symbols

For Reading

  • Further development of sound awareness, that words are composed of sounds

Age at Presentation:

Three to three and a half years


  1. The child must have had plenty of experience with phonetic games and Oral Phonetic Analysis
  2. Parallel to this the child must be doing other Sand Paper Letters
  3. As a preliminary activity let the child sort the letters in stacks or dust the box to become familiar with the letters.  The child needs to know how to replace them.
  4. The aim of using the Movable Alphabet is to listen to and analyse words into their phonemes in sequence and to record them.  The development of a flow of self expression is important
  5. When the hand is ready at around four and a half years the child begins to write on paper.  Until then she will only draw shapes.  To prepare the intellect encourage a flow of speech and ideas with the Movable Alphabet.
  6. To help her to overcame difficulties and establish independence offer indirect help by,
  • Giving those Sand Paper letters that she needs to complete her word, for her to trace and use immediately
  • If she cannot think of content to express suggest a catalogue of words from a picture folder she enjoys, such as animals or fruit
  1. After presenting encourage her to keep using the Alphabet by repeating analysis of the process with words of interest, make differences such as asking the child to choose the first letter and think of a word
  2. When the children outgrow their interest in the Sand Paper Letters teach sounds straight from the Movable Alphabet and immediately after show the corresponding Sand Paper Letter
  3. Avoid using pictures or objects or giving anything that parents may use as homework
  4. Simple reading will begin six to eight months later than this, do not ask the child to sound out what she has written

Drawing Insets (Metal Insets)

We put this developmental activity in language, but the activity brings together fields: Exercises of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics.  (The name of the activity is misleading, it is not or intention to use it to introduce drawing, though the child does use it to draw.)

  • She needs plenty of opportunities to apply and further develop her colour and shape consciousness, so that she can create.
  • They are an opportunity to consolidate the awareness she has built up by applying the various motor-technical preparations she has received to hold the writing instrument
  • With the knobs of the Cylinder Blocks she began to acquire prehensile co-ordination for holding the instrument with necessary and sufficient firmness
  • The Rough and Smooth Boards and other tactile material have given her a lightness of touch with which to move the instrument over the writing surface, to space her movements and move from left to right
  • Geometrical Insets help the child become capable of moving the writing fingers in a controlled manner along well-determined shapes to reproduce well defined shapes and to move in a clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.  This activity builds Muscle Memory
  • The sound boxes help the child acquires the agility of wrist movements
  • The Drawing Insets are an opportunity to synthesise, co-ordinate and consolidate these movements, to bring them together in a unified activity.

Material Description:

The Drawing Insets

The Drawing Insets are made of a sheet metal and fit into the 14cm2 frames out of which they have been cut.  The frames are pink and the insets are blue.  The dimensions are based on 10cm in the insets, the are made of metal so they are thick and heavy enough for the child to do the activity.

There are ten insets in total, placed in groups of five over two inclined stands.  The figures are the triangle, circle, trapezium, square, oval, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, pentagon, rectangle and rosette (quatrefoil).

Over the middle of the insets are knobs the same dimension as the Geometrical Insets


Sheets of paper exactly 14cm2, identical to the frames, of the highest quality and in an attractive variety of colours, are available from a wooden tray with three compartments 14.5cm2 displaying 20 to 25 sheets in three colours, at any one time.  A second wooden tray contains paper with varying grades of texture.  Have a third tray for dark paper, deep green, blue and black which will stimulate the child’s colour consciousness when picking pencils.  Keep plenty of paper in storage and use paperweights to prevent the papers spilling.


There are around 20 pads made of thick cardboard, 14cm2, in a variety of colours.  The edges should be reinforced and smooth, store them near to the paper.


Best quality pencils are displayed on a wooden board 3cm in height with eleven rows of 6 to 7 holes.  These 11 rows of holes are within bands of the colours of the second colour box.  This board should never leave its place. Have pencils of one colour in a variety of shades, placed in the hole according to their colour.  Have eight to ten individual pencil stands, which can hold three pencils, lying down at one time. Have a pencil sharpener in the adults area, an older child can help to keep the pencils in order.  The use of an eraser can be shown to older children, holding the paper steady and erasing in only one direction.

A chest of drawers

The child has an individual drawer to preserve her work.  Allot a draw to the child before giving this activity, before this activity.  On the drawers exterior have a name card with the child’s name written in a cursive script.  In each drawer have a folder for the insets, have other folders later for painting, writing and arithmetic.  On the folder have the child’s name.


It is nice to have a single pice of furniture to put all of these materials together.


  • Ensuring a chowki is available invite the child and take her to the place where the Drawing Insets are displayed, ask her to choose a pad and a sheet of paper, show her how to place the paper on the pad.  Take a Curvilinear figure (an oval or ellipse) and place it horizontally on the paper.  Show the child how to carry all three together to the chowki (fingers below, thumb on top)
  • The child is shown how to put the inset and the frame onto the top left corner of the Chowki (unless a fan will blow the paper, then leave the frame)
  • Return to the place of display and ask her to choose a pencil stand and choose three pencils (one at a time, lying them in the stand’s grooves.  Show the child how to carry the stand, resting on her left palm with the pencils pointing to the right, guarded by her right hand.  Place the pencil stand on the right top corner of the chowki, not too close to the edge, with tips facing away.
  • Ask the child to place the frame exactly over the paper then ask her to choose one pencil.  Hold it by pushing it a 4cm outside of the stand with the thumb, placing the thumb and middle finger on the pencil’s right side, the index on the left and pick it up.  Hold it horizontally.
  • Hold the frame’s left side firmly with the left hand, let the child see you trace it’s contours with the pencil.  Start at the top, holding the pencil at a right angle with the paper and work in an anti-clockwise direction.  Emphasise the point where you start and finish.  Replace the pencil in its stand.
  • Let the child remove the frame, putting it over the inset and look at the figure drawing.  She may label it an ‘oval’
  • Ask her to place the inset exactly over the line that has been drawn so it cannot be seen.  The child chooses another pencil which is picked up as before.
  • Hold the inset’s knob down firmly, this time begin at the base and move clockwise.  Return the pencil and the child returns the frame.
  • Let her look at the concentric ovals, draw her attention to their evenness saying, “The distance between the lines is the same”
  • Use the third pencil to fill in the figure with light downwards, vertical strokes from the ovals narrowest point, on the left top.  When the inner line is reached lift the pencil and replace it at the top.  Help the cild to learn to control her error by giving the following instructions
  • at 1cm say, “Watch where I start and finish”, indicating the inner lines
  • After 2 cm say, “the lines are very close together so you cannot see the colour of the paper”
  • After 3cm say, “We colour lightly”
  • After 4 cm say, “The line is not broken, leave the pencil on the paper”
  • Continue until half of the figure is coloured before letting the child take over, if she wants to begin before this say, “Let me do some more”.  Stay with the child until she completes the figure, ensuring that she understands the four instructions
  • When she has completed the figure suggest that she turns over the page and continues to work on the reverse
  • When finished write the child’s name and the date on the paper and show her how to store it in her folder in the drawer.
  • Suggest that she chooses other insets, insist that she uses only three colours at a time.
  • After sufficient practice begin the exercises

Note for folders:

  • Recording the dates n the paper means they can be used to chart the child’s progress
  • Keep the child’s work for a collection or exhibition
  • Help develop perfection by celebrating the child’s efforts, draw attention to only one instruction for improvement at a time.
  • Send some examples home at the end of the week


Show alternative specimens on the display board to stimulate the child’s creativity.

Exercise 1

  • The child uses the same inset more than once, but not the frame
  • The child uses three colours to fill the figure
  • The insets can be placed indifferent directions
  • The child can use different strokes
  • The child can use two different insets to make one figure

Exercise 2

  • The child can fill the inset in different ways, using embroidery and different colours of thread

Exercise 3

  • The child can use one pencil and shade from dark to light, refining the lightness of touch


  • The child thinks of these herself, she decides to make alternative designs, for example she may choose to use the insets to make illustrations.
  • The child should be encouraged to use the inset parallel to writing, maintain her interest by introducing larger paper 28cm2 and longer pieces, 14cm x22cm, showing specimens on the display board.  Keep the paper in the adults area and give it only to those children who can produce fluid strokes already.

Developmental Events:

  • When the child can make fluid strokes she can also use the Botany  and Geometric insets, animal forms and stencils to draw and fill
  • Present tracing paper and carbon paper, show how to fix it, trace an transfer an image
  • Present the use of paintbrushes of various sizes, beginning with a thick brush, show how to mix colours.  Technical proficiency comes first and through experiences an aesthetic appreciation will come to be expressed artistically.

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The same distance is maintain between the outlines
  • Vertical lines fill the shape with downward, single strokes
  • The filling lines should not cross the inner outline
  • The colour of the paper should not show
  • Light, uniform strokes

Direct Aim:

  • An approach to apply and consolidate the development of colour, shape and dimension consciousness
  • To acquire technical mastery over he use of the writing instrument- integrating different indirect motor-technical preparations
  • Refine lightness of touch

Indirect Aim:

  • To help the child prepare herself for writing, drawing, painting
  • To help the child prepare herself for analytic study of Geometry (e.g. lines, angles, semi-circles)

Age at Presentation:

  • Three and a half to four years
  • After all indirect motor-technical preparations with the Exercises of Practical Life and the Sensorial Activities have been given and she has acquired colour, shape and dimension consciousness.


  • Drawing Insets are NOT a privilege but are accessible always
  • Only after mastering the technical skill should the child be encouraged to begin the exercises

Also published on Medium.


Home The Casa 2.5 - 6 Years Language