Developing the Mathematical Mind in the Montessori Environment
The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics. ~Plato
Maria Montessori believed that human intelligence is no longer based on natural intelligence but on mathematical intelligence. Humans have moved beyond the innate survival instincts of early humans and moved toward an analytical awareness of the world. Math is more than math facts and computations. It deals with shape, space, patterns, symbols and the relationships found therein. Mathematics: Birth to Age Three
Learning about patterns occurs in utero: the cycles of day and night, activity and inactivity, the patterns of the mother and the family. The developing child also hears the patterns of speech and music around him. Music is thought to enhance the development of the mathematical mind due to the fact that the neural pathways of learning music are very similar to those for mathematics and may help with the mylinization of those neural pathways. Montessori observed that humans tend to be attracted to order. After birth, consistency with [pic]routines and activities such as feeding, bedtimes, bathing and playing help the child establish an early sense of order and sequence. Babies learn to think logically and know what to expect. Deviations from the expected order can cause confusion and cause upset. This early tendency towards mathematics causes the child to observe others and to compare, contrast, and classify objects in his environment. Consistency helps the child make sense of the world around him. Using clear, precise language also helps develop the mathematical mind. As children are beginning to order their world, we use mathematical terms such as big, small, more, some, few, many, to help them learn to quantify. Mathematics: The Preschool Years
Although preschool students have had several years working with numbers and mathematical concepts, children do not immediately begin working with the math materials in the Montessori...
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