Math is everywhere… in every part of our life.

From basics like table setting: figuring out how many plates and spoon we need, to measuring quantities and ingredients for baking ,to counting family and friends for an event, to using cash to buy things to just about every aspect of our life is governed either directly or indirectly by “Math”.

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, introduction of math during a child’s absorbent mind period (0-6 years), helps the child build a positive association with math. This helps the child understand, appreciate and feel comfortable with Math concepts throughout life.

Maria Montessori’s use of the term, ‘The Mathematical Mind,’ refers to the unique tendencies of the human mind, such as order, exactness, exploration, and orientation. Humans also have the unique abilities to imagine, create, and think abstractly. Montessori designed her math materials to incorporate the natural capabilities of a child’s mathematical mind.

In our work, therefore, we have given a name to this part of the mind which is built up by exactitude, we call it the ‘mathematical mind.’”
– Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Sensitive periods are developmental windows of opportunity during which a child can learn specific concepts more easily and naturally than at any other time in their lives. Such a sensitive period for Math is usually around the age of 4-5.5 years.

According to the Montessori philosophy, Math is introduced in the following steps:

1.Presentation of Quantity

2. Presentation of symbol

3. Association of quantity and symbol

Child is given immense opportunities with hands-on activities using the Number rods to understand “quantity”. Then the child is presented the tactile sandpaper numerals to understand the symbols. This also helps in preparation for writing numerals.

Then the child associates the numerals to the specific number rods, making the connection between the quantity and the symbol.

Children are interested in “rote” counting from a very young age… just counting the numbers maybe skipping a few here and there, without making a specific effort to get the “one-to-one” correspondence between the quantity and symbols. Then they move on to “rational counting”, which lays the foundation for all math operations and concepts. This is when the child understands the basic principle of “one-to-one” correspondence between the quantity and the symbols. Lots of hands on activities using common household items to establish this will help the child build a strong relationship with math and make them more comfortable using & working with numbers for the rest of their life.

It is important for us to understand and believe that “Math is everywhere”, the more we get it, the more better our life would be …. So sing number songs with the kids, count household objects, observe for numbers in and around the environment, do rote counting and then move on to rational counting to establish one-to-one correspondence; lay a strong foundation and liking for the subject.

The only way to learn Mathematics

is to do Mathematics.….. Paul Halmos

Published by

Geetha Nagarajan

My name is Geetha. I was introduced to Montessori as a parent and then choose it to be my career. I have over 13 years of experience in a Montessori primary classroom. I have a Masters Degree in Plant Sciences from India and a Masters in Educational Leadership from UNT (Denton, TX) and my Montessori Early childhood certification from American Montessori Society (AMS).

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