What is the Montessori Method?
When we have our bi-annual Parent-Teacher conferences, we have had parents ask us questions about the materials their child works with (“What is the Pink Tower?”) and the type of lessons they receive (“I’m not as familiar with the Montessori materials as I’d like to be. How do you teach my child to read and write?”). It is because of your desire to discover what your child is learning in class and how the process works that prompted us to create this page on our website. We hope it answers some of your questions and gives you a firmer understanding of what the Montessori curriculum entails. We created a broad sampling of lessons in reading, writing, and math with plans to add more in the future. If you don’t see a lesson below that you’d like to see, you can always ask your child’s teacher to show you, but let us know in the Office, too, so we can ask one of our teachers to demonstrate it here for all to see. Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself on what your child is doing in class and a special “Thank you!” to our teachers Ms. Jessica and Ms. Lara for volunteering to be videotaped. Enjoy!
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Number Strip BoardThe Montessori addition strip board is one method used by students to assist them in learning basic addition, subtraction, and their abstract memorization of addition facts up to 18. While the materials are somewhat abstract, the process is still concrete.
Clipping ClothespinsHelps the child to practice fine motor skills. Practical life activities give the child an understanding of his environment and how it works. He also enjoys keeping the environment beautiful for all to use. This work builds the child’s self-esteem, making him feel of value. In addition, practical life activities also develop manual dexterity.
Geometry CabinetThe cabinet contains all the regular plane figures and enables the child to classify every plane shape he sees in the environment. The cabinet has many mathematical purposes, which are 1) A visual and tactile study of the full classification of the regular plane shapes as a foundation for the later study of geometry, 2) To learn the words which will be needed and which will allow the child to express himself, 3) To make the child aware of shapes in the environment and to get him to observe the environment with intelligence, 4) Perfection of movement of the hand, and 5) Indirect preparation for writing as the child is feeling the curves and straight lines similar to the ones which compose the letters of the alphabet.
Metal InsetsThe metal insets are a pre-writing material. They are used to help a child learn how to grip and guide a pencil and eventually write letters. He will experience the effects of pressure on the pencil. There are a variety of movements involved in this work, which helps the child with control of the writing movements but also with changing directions.
Movable AlphabetUsed to analyze phonetic words as preparation for reading, writing and spelling. When the child has learned the phonetic sounds of the alphabet and knows the letters by sight and has listened for the sound in words when learning them, he is ready to build words with the large movable alphabet.
Numbers and CountersThe Numbers and Counters is a beginning math material. A child arranges the numerals in their correct order while putting the proper quantity with each. Once this is mastered, the more complex level of addition is introduced.
Pink Reading MaterialThe pink material is composed of a number of pink boxes, each containing attractive, small objects whose names are three-letter phonetic words, such as cat. Corresponding words are written on pink cards and kept in the boxes For most children, phonetic reading comes after some practice in word building. A variety of objects are prepared so that children get plenty of practice and their interest is kept alive by having new material with which to work. As the child’s reading level grows, green and blue material are introduced, which are composed of longer, more complex words.
Pink TowerHelps the child to develop visual discrimination of size in three dimensions and prepares the child for mathematical concepts in the decimal system, geometry and volume as well as used to help develop a child’s fine muscular coordination.
Sandpaper LettersTo learn the sound and shape of the letters of the alphabet and to gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to writing. The teaching of the sounds and letters is through a multisensory approach. The child will hear the sound, see its representation in the form of a letter, and feel the way it is written as the child feels the letter with his fingers. In the Montessori approach, the sounds of the letters are taught before the child is introduced to the names of the letters. Research has shown that it is best to learn one thing at a time. It is too much to have to remember both names and sounds. If the child is taught both the names and the sounds in the beginning, it has been found that the child gets confused when trying to sound out a word because it is difficult to remember which the letter represents. Therefore, to avoid the added difficulty, the phonetic sound of each letter is taught first, and the names of the letters are taught later. In addition, since some letters can represent more than one sound, the other sounds which are less frequently used than the phonetic sound are also taught later. In this way, the child only has to learn one sound for each letter in the beginning.
You can read more about the purpose of Montessori materials at these informative websites: www.MontessoriWorld.org, www.infomontessori.com, and wikipedia.org.