In the Montessori Method by Maria Montessori, Martin Mayer considers the general criteria that Montessori teaching materials should satisfy. They ought to be simple, interesting, self-correcting and thoroughly comprehensible. The objective is its purpose i.e what they can offer is fulfilled in the child. Mayer further reminded of the Montessori materials which have the additional quality of training muscles and the senses of touch in basic learning situations.
The Concept of Mathematics is depicted as follows:
Conservation and Reversibility
- Quantity remains the same in however it is arranged.
- Relationship between objects and comparison of objects.
Seriation and Principle of transitivity
- Sequencing and arranging objects i.e. what comes first and what goes next.
- Various developmental geometric shapes.
- Pattern in visual and number patterns depict the concept of orderly, regular and systematic (symmetry, geometry and fractions).
Sets and Sorting
- To compare, noting similarities and differences (e.g. spot the odd one out).
- Sorting is extension of matching which involves sorting a large group of things into smaller groups etc.
This concept if applied appropriately is relevant to the child Mathematical development as quoted in “The Discovery of the Child”, page 264 …. “Rarely, however, can he count with certainty the fingers of one hand, and when he does succeed in doing this, there is always the difficulty of knowing why, .. The extreme exactness and correctness of a child’s mind needs clear and precise help. When numerical rods are given to children we see that even the smallest take a lively interest in counting.”
[SinglePic not found]“This system in which a child is constantly moving objects with his hands and actively exercising his senses, also takes into account a child’s special aptitude for mathematics. When they leave the material, the children very easily reach the point where they wish to write out the operation. They thus carry out an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculations., extract from page 279….
Simple number ideas are assimilated by children informally from their general everyday experiences. A child ought to be able to say or relate number with himself, his family, his environment and his possession. The children possess all the instructive knowledge necessary as a preparation for clear ideas on numeration. The idea of quantity was inherent in all the material for the education of the senses ….. The child’s mind is prepared for number, by a process of formation, by a slow building up of itself. (extract from “The Essential Montessori”)>/p>
The Montessori teacher will discover how real this knowledge is, clarify it, consolidate it and gradually extend it. Some of the activities useful for illustrating, discussing and reinforcing simple number vocabulary are Number songs, Rhymes, Stories, Dancing to Rhythms and Bead threading to Oral Instructions and Demonstration. The children’s mathematical mind is active from firstly the attraction of exactness exerts on every action the child performs as well as the child’s need for order is one of the most powerful incentives to dominate his/her early life which will develop their perception.