The Montessori method encourages self-directed learning through exploration and play. We help children learn through a variety of specially developed materials. These materials may look like fun toys, but they are designed to help your child learn and master difficult concepts.
Here are some of the most common learning materials you might see in a Montessori classroom.
- Movable Alphabet
Most children learn to read between the ages of four and seven. In order to become comfortable with reading, children first need to become comfortable with letters and words.
That’s where the movable alphabet comes into play. Children form colorful, three-dimensional letters into words. Rather than just seeing the words on a page, children get to manipulate the letters with their hands. This hands-on interactive play makes learning easier.
- Pink Tower
The pink tower is a set of ten blocks in increasing sizes. Children stack the blocks in size order.
By using the senses of both seeing and touching, children learn how to compare objects of different sizes and dimensions. This sharpens early mathematical skills like measuring and comparing.
- Sound Cylinders
It’s important for children to develop and hone all five senses, including the sense of listening. Each cylinder is filled with different materials, some louder than others. Children can shake the cylinders and place them in order of softest to loudest.
- Hands-On Tasks
What better way to teach children how to complete daily tasks then by letting them explore fun hands-on activities? Some common Montessori hands-on tasks include:
- Pouring and scooping
- Watering flowers
- Opening bottle caps
- Washing clothes
- Gluing paper
- Washing a window
These tasks help children learn important motor skills while they explore the environment around them.
- Dressing Frames
Learning important motor skills like tying shoes and buttoning buttons can be difficult for little hands. Montessori method founder Maria Montessori created dressing frames that schools still use today.
Some of these dressing frames have buttonholes that children can practice buttoning and unbuttoning. Others allow children to tie and untie laces and bows, zip and unzip zippers, and fasten and unfasten buckles.
- Puzzle Maps
It can be difficult to learn geography by merely looking at a map. With wooden puzzle maps, children get to actually move and arrange different countries, continents, and states. This gives them a complete view of the world around them.
- Classification Cards
Classification cards help children learn the names of different objects in their world. The objects become more advanced depending on the skill level of the child.
Each object comes with three cards. One card has a picture of the object, a second card has the name of the object, and a third card (the control card) has both the picture and the name. Children match the picture and name together and compare it to the control card.
Classification cards can also help children learn more complicated concepts, such as the parts of planet Earth.
Beads come in various sizes and arrangements: single beads sitting alone, rods consisting of ten beads, flats consisting of ten rods, and cubes consisting of ten flats. When it comes to teaching children math, beads have a variety of intriguing uses.
One of the most common uses of beads is to teach children about the decimal system. For example, when children place the cube of 1000 beads in the 1000 decimal spot, they can quickly visualize what this number represents.
Another use for beads is to teach geometry. Children use the various bead arrangements to visualize the different aspects of a geometric shape. For example, the rod represents a line and the cube represents a solid.
- Binomial Cube
These ingenious cubes help children develop advanced mathematical skills. They consist of eight wooden blocks that fit together. They can teach different math concepts depending on the child’s age.
The youngest children can learn about patterns simply by organizing the pieces as a puzzle. Older children, however, use the cubes to visualize algebraic equations. For example, a red cube represents a3 and a blue cube represents b3. Children use these blocks to create a visual representation of each equation.
Like the binomial cube, the checkerboard helps children learn advanced mathematics. In this case, it helps children learn multiplication. Each row and column represents a different value. Children place beads on the checkerboard in the correct places. This helps them visualize the result of each multiplication problem.
In a Montessori classroom, your children aren’t just sitting and listening to a lecture. They’re actually interacting with their environment to grow and learn. Make sure your child’s school offers a variety of different learning materials catered to different ages and skill levels.
Are you looking for a Montessori school that offers these proven learning materials? Call Miniapple Montessori to learn more about our programs.