The formal mathematics curriculum begins with activities to teach sequence, recognition and quantity of numbers 1 through 10. Two parallel lessons formats build on this knowledge: operations with numbers (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and memorization of mathematical facts. Eventually used together, these two disciplines form the foundation for working complex math problems. Other lessons introduce math concepts and skills, such as: counting-by-multiples, the squares and cubes of numbers 1 through 10, and fractions. All of these activities are available to young children in a Montessori early childhood program.
Sandpaper numbers are the sandpaper cutouts of the numbers zero through 9 glued to individual boards. They teach the numerical symbol of the quantities the child has already learned from the number rods. This is the beginning preparation for number writing. Sandpaper makes the process of tracing out the number both more interesting to the child and more effective in absorbing the mental image of the number.
Montessori is focused on teaching for understanding. In a primary classroom, three and four-year-olds receive the benefit of two years of sensorial preparation for academic skills by working with the concrete Montessori learning materials. This concrete sensorial experience gradually allows the child to form a mental picture of concepts like how big is a thousand, how many hundreds make up a thousand, and what is really going on when we borrow or carry numbers in mathematical operations.
Teen Board & Beads
With the Teen Boards, the child explores the numbers 11-19. The child puts together ten bars and colored bead bars to create teen quantities, learns the symbols for 11-19 and associates the quantity and symbol.
Memorization 100 board
Remember that academic progress is not our ultimate goal. Our real hope is that the children will have an incredible sense of self-confidence, enthusiasm for learning, and will feel closely bonded to their teachers and classmates. We want much more than competency in the basic skills; we want to them to honestly enjoy school and feel good about themselves as students.