One work that Jordan has consistently gravitated to throughout the Montessori preschool year is with the Cylinder Blocks. He began working with one block at time and now enjoys challenging himself by placing all four blocks in a square formation.
Montessori Sensorial Materials: Jordan's Experience with the Cylinder Blocks
The material consists of four blocks each containing 10 cylinders with knobs, with each cylinder fitting into a respective hole in the block. Each block contains cylinders that vary in one or two dimensions.
In block 1 the cylinders vary in decreasing diameter only.
In block 2, the cylinders vary in decreasing diameter and height.
In block 3, the cylinders vary in decreasing diameter and increasing height.
In block 4, the cylinders vary in decreasing height only.
The Montessori Cylinder Blocks activity is a relatively simple exercise and I often watch in awe as children seem driven to repeat the exercise over and over again with intense concentration.
The Cylinder Blocks appeal to a preschooler’s love of order, allow for self correction, and refine the pincer grasp. The Cylinder Blocks also allow a child to feel weight differences based on the varying sizes of each cylinder.
When Jordan works with the Cylinder Blocks, it is as if, for him, nothing else in the Montessori classroom exists. I once heard him pretending aloud that each cylinder was a member of a family and it was time for them to go to bed. He tucked each one in bed by carefully placing them in their corresponding holes. It was adorable to hear him call each cylinder by name (tall man, skinny brother, short grandpa, etc.).
Once each cylinder was in the correct hole, he would say, “shhhh and now it’s time to sleep”. Then he proceeded to carefully carry the Cylinder Blocks back to the correct place on the shelf with such pride and satisfaction. It was intriguing to see him completely absorbed in what he was doing and I love that he has come back to this material time and time again throughout the course of the school year.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, June 14, 2011.