Montessori, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907, is a teaching method that allows a child to learn via their own actions in an environment that aids them in a developmentally appropriate environment. Montessori techniques are used worldwide to teach all aspects of education. If you are a teacher or parent interested in helping your child learn math through these researched methods, read on to learn about some of the Montessori math materials and how they can be used to learn basic math concepts.
The Sensorial Methods
Math is an abstract topic, but by adding sensory aspects to learning, a child can begin to grasp the concepts of relationships, sequences and quantity. Children by nature are curious and use their senses to learn about their world. By taking this natural curiosity and choosing the right tools to teach the concepts, learning the basics of math can become just as easy as reciting the ABCs without understanding word sounds. Sensorial methods use the child’s guided manipulations of shapes, beads and planes to provide the basis for higher math. A primary math curriculum will focus on counting and identifying numbers, but as the child progresses, more advanced concepts can be taught with these same techniques and materials. These concepts can include the decimal system, multiplication and arithmetic tables.
The Sensorial Materials
By allowing the physical manipulation of objects, the following materials can help a child understand math concepts.
- Rods of different colors – By interacting with the rods, children learn that each number in a 1 to 10 sequence is represented by a single object. As the child ages, this can be used to introduce basic arithmetic like addition and subtraction.
- Sandpaper numbers – By guiding fingers along the sandpaper-etched number, children can identify the symbols that correlate with each number.
- Spindle boxes – By placing the right number of spindles into the numbered sequence boxes, a child reinforces the concept of numerical sequences.
Montessori techniques help children learn in a different way, and even abstract concepts like math can be taught by teaching outside the educational box.