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Montessori Mathematics Essay

3134 words - 13 pages

“Dr Maria Montessori took this idea that the human has a mathematical mind from a French philosopher Pascal and developed a revolutionary math learning material for children as young as 3 years old. Her mathematical materials allow the children to begin their mathematical journey from a concrete concept to abstract idea”.
With reference to the above statement please discuss how these children utilize their mathematical mind as part of their natural progression, to reason, to calculate and estimate with these Montessori mathematical materials in conjunction with their aims and presentations?

The child doesn’t learn mathematics only through Montessori, but he learns it from the day he ...view middle of the document...

We should help the child understand that having a mathematical mind is part of our human nature.
“In our work therefore, we have given a name to this part of the mind which is built up with exactitude, and we call it the ‘mathematical mind’. I take the term from Pascal, the French Philosopher, Physicist and Mathematician, who said that the man’s mind was mathematical by nature, and that knowledge and progress came from accurate observation.” – Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, Ch. 17, pg. 169.
Montessori believed that the hands are the tools of intelligence. Practical life activities in the prepared environment indirectly teach the child math concepts such as repetition, calculation, exactness, estimation, classification and most importantly order. The mathematics sensorial materials present three mathematics concepts; completeness, geometry and early algebra. Sensorial materials that are provided to the child in the Montessori environment showed Montessori that correct manipulation with quantity would create a lasting impression in the child’s mind when understanding mathematics. Sensorial education helps the child to create a mental order of the concepts, that he grasps using his five senses. Montessori materials are placed on trays, color coded, displayed in a sequence and the movements are broken down into sequential steps during presentations.
Dr. Montessori was convinced that there are two things to be introduced before working with mathematics. “Before beginning mathematics work, the child must therefore do two things: explore and accept the notion of idealized things with isolated qualities, and gain practice in the requisite intellectual.” – D. Gettman, Basic Montessori, Ch. 2, pg. 160.
Sensorial materials help the child idealize and isolate materials. The materials and activities that show dimension are specifically designed to isolate quantities. E.g. The red rods are ten pieces of rods made from wood and colored in red, are of the same height but different in length. After feeling and building the stair from the rods, the child understands that each rod is different in length. The next presentation makes the child aware that the shortest rod is difference between each red rod.

Children often tend to dislike math from a young age because they are introduced to symbols and numbers and are asked to solve problems mentally. Montessori did not like this system and realized that children need to know the concept behind each mathematical problem.

“The results we obtain with our little ones contrast oddly with the fact that mathematics is so often held to be a scourge rather than a pleasure in school programs.  Most people have developed ‘mental barriers’ against it.  Yet all is easy if only its roots can be planted in the absorbent mind” (The Absorbent Mind, 17, pg. 170).

Concrete materials make the concept real and easy to understand. If the materials can be felt and manipulated, the child understands better as his...

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