Now that the school year is underway, your preschooler at All Stars Montessori is likely beginning to engage with some of the Montessori materials in the mathematics area. Through their earlier experiences in the Practical Life and Sensorial areas of the Montessori classroom, they had the opportunity to practice important foundational skills such as: concentration and coordination, completion of work, left to right progression, following processes, and classifying and ordering their environment. These skills have laid the ground work for their introduction to Mathematics.
In the Montessori preschool classroom, Mathematics involves using concrete materials to introduce abstract concepts. As the children work through the different materials at their own pace, the difficulty progresses, and they will begin to learn about the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.
The first concept that children practice is the concept of the numbers one through ten. As they work with counting materials, they begin to understand how each number has a corresponding value. One of the materials that teaches this skill is the Spindle Box. Children practice counting the rods and matching the quantity to the corresponding number. Using these same counting materials, they also begin to practice the concepts of addition and subtraction.
After mastering the beginning counting materials, children will move on to the materials such as the Golden Beads, which will teach the concept of place values and multiples of ten. They will learn about ones, tens, hundreds and thousands and will even be able to “build” four-digit numbers and understand the abstract concept of large numerical values.
As children engage all of their senses with the various Montessori mathematics materials, they are laying a critical foundation for future mathematics learning. When the work becomes more abstract and they are making computations on paper without the use of materials, they will be able to reflect back on the lessons they learned with the Montessori materials.
If you have a preschooler at All Stars Montessori, encourage them to show you some of their favorite mathematics materials then watch their eyes light up as they demonstrate to you their understanding of Math.