Montessori moveable alphabet
     I was struck by an idea which had never before entered my mind - that in writing we make two diverse forms of movement, for, besides the movement by which the form is reproduced, there is also that of manipulating the instrument of writing.
     To hold and to manipulate a little stick securely, corresponds to the acquisition of a special muscular mechanism which is independent; it must in fact go along with the motions necessary to produce all of the various letter forms.  It is, then, a distinct mechanism which must exist together with the motor memory of the single graphic signs.
- Maria Montessori

moveable alphabet
     Graphic language, therefore, may be considered from two points of view:
    ( a ) That the conquest of a new language of eminent social importance which adds itself to the articulate language of natural man; and this is the cultural significance which is commonly given to graphic language, which is therefore taught in the schools without any consideration of its relation to spoken language, but solely with the intention of offering to the social being a necessary instrument in his relations with his fellows.
   ( b ) That of the relation between graphic and articulate language and, in this relation, of an eventual possibility of utilizing the written language to perfect the spoken: a new consideration upon which I wish to insist and which gives to graphic language a physiological importance.
     Moreover, as spoken language is at the same time a natural function of man and an instrument which he utilises for social ends, so written language may be considered in itself, in its formation, as an organic ensemble of new mechanisms which are established in the nervous system, and as an instrument which may be utilized for social ends. 
- Maria Montessori

Montessori believed the early childhood years of birth to age six to be a "sensitive period" for language, a claim which has been largely supported by subsequent scientific research.  The Montessori language curriculum and materials serve to support language development from multiple pathways.

A thorough introduction to the Montessori language methods and activities can be found on the AMI Primary Guide page on language.  The following videos show first an overview of the language curriculum, then demonstrations of the presentation of two language activities: the metal inset, and the sound bucket.