Monday, May 02, 2011

Montessori Preschool Math - Montessori Materials Make the Difference With Advanced Concepts!

NAMC montessori preschool math montessori materials make difference advanced concepts golden bead
There is something so profound about walking into a Montessori environment and seeing children as young as three, four and five years old working with advanced Math concepts and truly understanding what they are doing. The Montessori Materials really do make concepts come to life for children. Concepts that seem daunting and abstract become so simple and fun in a Montessori environment. The materials are beautiful and intriguing and I have seen year after year how they inspire young learners.

I love the fact that the Montessori Math curriculum is so systematic. The lessons build sequentially on previous learning, they are self-correcting, they introduce concrete learning before abstract learning, and they isolate the difficulty being learned.

Montessori Preschool Math - Montessori Materials Make the Difference With Advanced Concepts!

I love the fact that each child works through the curriculum at their own pace without pressure and/or expectations. The children are given the freedom to choose what it is they wish to work on and to repeat the steps as many times as they wish until they have the confidence to move on to the next step. Montessori students don’t just go through the motions to perform mathematical operations, they use hands–on Montessori classroom material (manipulatives) to ensure they are truly understanding the process … what a gift to give any child!

I have a nine-year-old daughter who came home from school feeling very frustrated a few weeks ago. She is in a French Immersion program, but in a traditional setting and they had just begun learning subtraction with borrowing (dynamic subtraction). My poor daughter was completely lost … she was going through the motions but had no idea why she was crossing out certain numbers and putting the number ‘1’ in front of other numbers. She was making errors and in some cases just drawing a blank altogether.

That weekend, she and I spent a couple of hours at my preschool working with the Golden Bead Material and, after about an hour or so, the light bulb went on and the look of relief on her face almost brought me to tears. She gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for helping me get it, Mom. Now it all makes sense!” With the work that she was doing in school, she was seeing the numbers (symbols) on the page and had been taught how to manipulate them, but none of it made any sense to her. Now, after working with the actual materials, she understands what the symbols represent and the “why” behind the process.

Related NAMC blogs:
NAMC montessori preschool math montessori materials make difference advanced concepts mathematics manual
The NAMC 3-6 Mathematics manual provides the full three-year Montessori math curriculum activities for this age group.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, May 2, 2011.


  1. Awesome! I have the same experience with my daughter who attends a traditional school. When she held those golden beads and worked with them it was a light bulb moment for her with borrowing. Thank you for sharing.

  2. It is wonderful to hear that your daughter had a similar experience with the golden beads...amazing! I wish so much that every child could have the opportunity to learn and discover with the golden bead material.


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