Visit Montessori learning materials is a tool, often sensory or skill-based, that provides children with opportunities to learn independently, allowing them to practice and learn new skills. Montessori resources usually have a specific purpose, to teach the child a particular concept or skill, and contribute to caring for oneself, the community and the environment. Often made from natural and sustainable materials, Montessori learning materials are traditionally considered to be environmentally friendly, and designed so that the child can complete the task or activity with little guidance, working on his or her own and correcting mistakes through his or her own mistakes.
Principles of Montessori learning
Visit Montessori pedagogy has been developed by Maria MontessoriThe Italian physician and educator at the beginning of the 20th century. She spent her life studying children and developing an innovative approach to teaching based on respect for the child and his or her potential.
Visit Montessori method is based on several key principles:
- Respect for children and their individuality
- The importance of the sensitive period
- Freedom to learn
- Learning by doing
- Intuitive learning
- Individualized help
What are Montessori learning materials?
For those familiar with Montessori classrooms, one thing that generally stands out is the carefully selected and well-maintained learning materials. L'Montessori education emphasizes hands-on, project-based learning that allows students to self-correct and retry until they reach mastery. The use of manipulatives such as thermal tiles, counting beads and moving cards allows students to support their learning with concrete materials until they reach the stage where, in each subject, they can work independently.
For example, different Montessori materials of increasing complexity lead children through a progression from developing hand strength and dexterity, to tracing letter and number shapes, and finally to writing the alphabet and numbers themselves. When a student can create letters and numbers without any physical assistance, he or she has reached the stage of abstract writing. Of course, along the way, other skills (such as reading and comprehension) develop in tandem. The Montessori framework weaves these physical, emotional and psychological priorities into a comprehensive, practical program.
As with Montessori baby mobiles, learning materials will often be monochrome, with little difference in sensory attributes (for example, made from a single color and material) so as not to be too stimulating and to allow the child to concentrate on the task in hand.
Principles of Montessori learning materials
All disciplines are perfectly interwoven in a Montessori space. Manual supports are used in a variety of areas, and often the same tools can be used for lessons that cover a variety of subjects. For example, an early childhood dexterity task might involve pouring water from one container to another, and those same containers (and water) can be used to explore the differences between states of matter in a science experiment in the same classroom. Throughout the levels of a Montessori education, many materials will resemble those of the previous levels. Developing comfort, mastery and a self-guided routine is one of the hallmarks of learning in the Montessori environment. Having familiar but increasingly complex materials at hand helps students move from the concrete to the abstract, without fear.
The complexity of the work changes with the student, but the material also evolves over time. In this way, students can build on the routines they've established before, without hindering their progress towards mastery of new skills. From the earliest stages, children begin by interacting with practical-life materials. This material helps develop the fundamental skills needed to use mathematical, linguistic and sensory material effectively later on.
Rotating Montessori materials
Once you've got the right furniture to store your Montessori learning materials, you now need to think about how you're going to organize them so you can offer your child a set of resources. Offering everything you own at once can be too overwhelming for a child. The aim of toy rotation is to offer the child only a few selected items at a time, covering a wide range of subjects, skills and interests.
When the child has explored this set, you can rotate these toys out of sight and put them away, then bring out a new selection of materials that he hasn't seen for a few weeks. When the child sees the new Montessori learning material, he or she once again experiences a sense of novelty. Toy rotation also gives you, as a parent, the opportunity to target your child's interests and offer learning materials that appeal to him at certain stages.
How do you organize your Montessori learning materials?
Once you start using the Montessori method, it can be very difficult to organize all your materials, bearing in mind that they need to be accessible to your children and easy to take out/store. The first step is to use low furniture so that your children can see and access the materials and resources they want to use. To do this, you can simply create a learning space and a prepared environment using simple IKEA furniture like the Kallax shelf.
List of Montessori materials
Montessori materials offer children a variety of enriching sensory and cognitive experiences. They encourage children to learn for themselves, to progress at their own pace and to develop their self-confidence. The main materials used in Montessori classrooms are as follows:
- Visit sensory material The "play with objects" concept allows children to manipulate concrete objects to explore the world around them. This type of material encourages concentration, motor coordination and the learning of basic mathematical and scientific concepts.
- Visit teaching equipment These tools help children to learn letters, numbers, colors and more. These tools also help children develop their vocabulary and written expression.
- Visit practical equipment This new concept allows children to develop their practical skills while taking care of themselves and their environment.
Montessori mathematical materials
From early childhood, Montessori students interact with mathematical manipulatives that help them learn about numbers and how they interact with each other. There are many different Montessori mathematical materials, but the most common, and those found at many stages of Montessori learning, are the bead string (bead cupboard), arithmetic charts or diagrams and bead frames.
Bead chains are ubiquitous in the Montessori learning environment. Most classrooms are equipped with a bead cabinet, which contains a variety of beads and bead chains. These chains can be used in a number of lessons, from counting and addition to complex algebraic operations. Bead chains are particularly useful for learning the number system and number relationships for more advanced children.
Addition and multiplication charts serve several purposes in the arithmetic learning process. These charts, which resemble graphs, show the relationships between numbers and mathematical operations in a comprehensive and visible way. Working with these charts makes the magic of mathematics more concrete, and helps children quickly remember sums and products of simple equations.
The bead frame is a Montessori learning material primarily used to explore the use and power of decimals. The bead frame (similar to an abacus) allows students to explore the concepts of place value, decimal and numerical powers. Students are delighted to learn that they can calculate complex equations using the bead frame.
Montessori language materials
Language materials make up a large part of the material found in a Montessori classroom. Language acquisition is a key stage in future learning. Developing the skills needed to read and write is a major undertaking. It begins with the development of the most essential skills, such as hand coordination and dexterity. It continues with the physical skills needed for writing and the psychological skills needed for reading comprehension and spelling.
Younger children begin their language journey by listening to others read stories to them, while developing the dexterity and strength needed to start learning to write. Children acquire dexterity through a number of tasks and materials, including painting with watercolors, using scissors and crockery, or manipulating fasteners and locks. Materials such as the Montessori dressing frame enable pupils to discover a number of different materials and movements, so they can quickly hone their motor skills.
Educational Paper Letters
From the very first days, children are introduced to letters and sounds, and begin to differentiate between consonants, vowels and the main types of sound. Each letter of the alphabet is formed from sandpaper and mounted on a square tile. Consonants and vowels are mounted on different-colored tiles, and key sounds are mounted on a third. Students begin to integrate letter shapes, sounds and group differences.
The mobile alphabet
The alphabet Montessori mobile is based on the theme of paper letters. Multiple representations of each letter are retained so that children recognize them from their previous work, and put them together to form words. The color-coding of consonants and vowels is retained, but children must now combine the letters themselves to form words.
Montessori sensory materials
Montessori sensory material is a set of tools and toys designed to help children develop their senses. This makes it easier for children to explore the world around them. In the first years of childhood, sensory materials are used to teach children basic sensations and the vocabulary to describe these sensations. Sensory work gives young children the opportunity not only to choose their own activity, but also to define their own experience. This is a hallmark of Montessori education and is crucial to developing the curiosity and independence that will accompany children throughout their educational journey.
The pink tower
The pink Montessori tower is a fundamental manipulative element that meets a wide range of needs. The tower is made up of a number of cube-shaped blocks, each smaller than the one on which it rests. The aim of tower work is to arrange the blocks correctly, using coordination, order and concentration to build the tower from bottom to top. This work teaches children to compare the features of different shapes, to arrange them in a logical order and to use their dexterity to place the pieces correctly.
Puzzle maps, or moving maps, allow children to discover the location and orientation of continents on the globe. Students use their sense of touch to assemble the map pieces, while using their visual sense to compare their map with a color-coded globe. Children also learn to identify and name continents, then oceans and other landforms.
Montessori thermal tablets are pieces designed to help students refine their perception of heat, i.e. their ability to feel and identify different levels of heat. These tiles are often composed of various materials that transmit heat to different degrees. Children use their senses to arrange these tiles in relative order, from coldest to hottest, and refine their ability to feel and categorize the sensory signals they receive.