“If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is life to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future” (Maria Montessori – The discovery of the child) Dr. Montessori recognized that children are born with a particular kind of mind, one that is naturally inclined towards order. This ‘special’ mind is what gives humans the ability to make judgments and to calculate; it is how we have progressed in fields such as engineering and architecture. Dr. Montessori called this ‘the mathematical mind’ - a term borrowed from the French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal. Montessori felt that, if we are to support development, then we must offer mathematics at an early age since this is the kind of support that is appropriate for the kind of mind that we have. She observed:
‘Great creations come from the mathematical mind, so we must always consider all that is mathematical as a means of mental development. It is certain that mathematics organizes the abstract path of the mind, so we must offer it at an early age, in a clear and very accessible manner, as a stimulus to the child whose mind is yet to be organized.’ (Maria Montessori – The discovery of the child)
Dr. Montessori believed that children pass through sensitive periods when they possess a unique and amazing aptitude for learning; to take advantage of these sensitive periods, we must prepare environment to simulate their particular interests and allow them to exercise their innate ability to learn.
I began to understand to that the shelf-works are actually the practical life and sensorial exercises that are as necessary as the materials insolated qualities physically and prepare the children before they begin the mathematics learning.
From the course manual and the various reading materials, I began to discover some important elements that will lead the children to progress mathematics learning from concrete to abstract using Montessori methods in teaching.
These elements are:1) The Montessori Sensorial materials and Exercises
2) The Practical life materials and Exercises
3) The unique Montessori mathematics curriculum and materials
When we think of Montessori Mathematics, we cannot just consider math materials only because sensorial training is of great importance in teaming the basics of mathematics.
The entire sensorial materials for dimension (knobbed cylinders, pink tower, broad stairs and long rods) are in sets of ten. When the child works with the sensorial materials, he is indirectly learning the units of measurement, the ‘tenness’ in the materials. For example, when the child has mastered the arrangement of the long rods, he has a sensorial basis for counting tens. The long rods are identical top the number rods: the child already has an impression and is familiar with the long rods which make learning concepts of 1-10 easier when the child is being introduced to number rods. The long rods act as an indirect preparation for a more advanced activity.
Dr. Montessori stated that the long rods provide an absolute and a relative concept of numbers. As the children handled and compared would help them to various combinations and contracts. (The Discovery of the Child, Pg. 264)
The sensorial exercises are based on a logical learning sequence. It goes from the concrete to the abstract an example of geometry: In the traditional system, when we introduce ‘triangle’, we would show children a plane figure enclosed by 3 straight lines but is quite an intellectual concept and children are being...