Hello Mapletree Montessori Parents!
This is Miss Jennifer. I am trying my hand at
writing a blogpost.
A few weeks ago, I tried Instagram live for
the first time and it was so much fun to visit with you all in your homes. I
hope you and your children enjoyed doing some math exercises together with me.
I hope this post will explain some background
as to why Montessori uses these math materials to promote understanding of the
language of Mathematics in our young children.
The first Presentation we did together is
called Sandpaper Numbers.
looked at how to say the number and then properly trace the number. Starting
from the top, then following the number down to the bottom.
practical approach teaches the child to recognize the number visually. Then
through hearing the name and repeating the name of the number vocally. This
uses as many sense channels of learning for the child is absorbing their
environment using any many senses as they have.
tracing lightly over the sandpaper material the child feels the correct shape
of the number and can self correct if needed to follow the number flowing from
top to bottom slowly.
In using the first two dominant hand fingers
and tucking the rest of the fingers down, the child is preparing their fine
motor muscles of their hand, thus making them stronger so as to be able to hold
and use writing tools. This helps the child to print the numbers before they
have the fine motor skills to write them successfully on their own. The
sandpaper numbers can be used with children as young as two and a half years
old, up to five years old.
If you would like to make these materials for
use at your home.
Cardboard or thick cardstock
Sand or Salt (small fine grain) or glitter
Cut out a rectangle about the size
of an adult handprint (fingers closed).
Draw numbers 0-9 large and shaped
like the numbers in the following exercise: cut-out numbers and counters.
Colour the number in
Trace a good amount of glue on the
numbers you have drawn
Sprinkle on sand or salt (or
glitter glue as last choice)
Shake off excess
Allow to dry overnight or until
fully dry before use
Step 1 Step 2
I then showed how to allow the child to use
this material to count on objects.
Ask the child… What number is
Wait for a reply. If they don't
know, that is totally okay. Just tell them the answer and smile. (it is the
Show them how to trace the number.
You trace first with your first two fingers and start at the top and work your
way down to the bottom.
Making sure they are using their
“bunny ears” first two fingers up, the others are tucked down under their
thumb, have them trace the number. If they are having trouble tracing on their
own you can place your hand over theirs and guide them. (they trace 3 and say
Have them count out the amount of
objects for that number. Example: 3 the child counts out three things. It
really helps if the objects are of similar size and shape, like stones, coins,
etc and they can all fit into one small basket or bowl.
This work is done at a table.
Please be very patient. It is totally okay to
just do one number at a time over many days, if the child is young. If the
child is showing interest in doing more, add another number. Let them count as
long as they are interested.
are showing that they are getting to be not interested or tired. Stop.
Acknowledge their very good work. Let them know that they can do this work
again another time with you. Let them know that this was fun for you too.
We are laying a foundation of love for Math.
We have to be careful to not work the child too hard at first. Let their
interest and happiness guide you in playing this Game, while you work with them
for as long as they want. Some will work at this for 5 minutes; others for up
to 20 minutes.
Most of our 3 year olds love this work and
will happily do numbers 1-5 easily. It is working the understanding of 6-9,
plus the concept of 0 that will be a challenge for the child. Most of our 4
year olds have mastered this work, but love doing it as a review. Also to show
how smart they are at knowing their numbers.
The game with the basket I was describing is
Basket or small bag or small bowl
Objects or small toys that will be able to fit
into the basket
Method of Game:
Show and say the number (3) Child
takes the number with them to look
Ask child to “go to find three
things and put them in their basket”
When the child brings back the 3
objects, have them count them out on the table in front of you. It is totally
okay if they get the answer wrong… just show and ask them the number again and
send them out to find more.
Extension for older/ elementary children:
Same as steps 1-3 ( the number now
stays on the table with you)
Ask: How many will we have if you
add (3) more?
Have child find (3) more and add
them to the objects on the table
Say out loud: First we had (3)
then we added (3) more now we have (6)
REMEMBER that the child can make the numbers
out of playdough or clay. Just have the number card nearby for the child to
The second Presentation we did together is
called Numbers and Counters.
This work is for ages three and a half to four
and five year olds.
work builds on the visual recognition of the number as well as the amount
needed for each number.
The next building block to learn is how to
arrange the numbers into what is known as number order. We were working before
with sandpaper numbers in an isolated manner. This work puts the numbers in
order. It works with teaching the child how to remember, “what comes next?” and
also “how many?”.
The Montessori method uses the child‘s sense
of wonder at putting things in order then mixing them up and then putting them
in order again to very good use. The child would be well indoctrinated in order
versus mixed order through the use of the sensorial materials. The first
presentations a child receives, in the beginning of the school year, are
cylinder blocks using the order versus mixed order method.
If you would like to make this material for
55 small items to arrange and count with
(coins, poker chips, pompoms, large beads,
dried large beans, bingo chips, marble glass drops, stones, etc.)
Small rug (or small baby blanket)
2 Baskets, or small boxes, or bowls
Make Number cards (½ the size we
Make numbers 1-10 on cardboard or
cardstock. Just write the number the same as in the picture below (this is what
your sandpaper numbers should look like as well)
Place numbers into a small box,
basket or bowl.
Have the 55 objects for counting
in another container
Note: you can cut
out the numbers or not.
Lay out the number cards in mixed
order on the bottom of the mat.
Child finds number 1, puts it at
the top right hand corner.
Child finds and counts one object
and places it under the number one card.
Child finds number 2, places their
left hand beside the number one already placed, makes a full hand space, then
places the number two card down on the mat.
Child finds and counts two objects
and places side by side, (as if they are holding hands walking to the park)
under the number two card.
Child finds number 3, makes a hand
space, places it, then finds three objects and places them in a group of two
with one underneath (should look like a triangle)
Child does the same for the number
four, it‘s objects should look like a square underneath the number four card
Child continues up to the number
10. Making the pattern in the picture above.
Note: this work
usually takes a long time to lay out on the mat, some children will need
encouragement to start, to continue, and to finish to the number ten. This can
be 30 minutes or take up to an hour, or more. Just be patient and let them
work. This is developing the ability to focus and concentrate to be able to
complete. They can take a snack break and come back to this material. When they
complete this work please make a good acknowledgement for their time spent and
hard work accomplished. They will be intensely proud of themselves when they
can finish and then even more so, when this work is so easy. They learn,
through this work and others, that sometimes things take a long time to do, or
that things may take many days of doing to understand or may take practice to
become competent. All of these are great qualities to instill in the child to
understand hard work will help them in the future.
Game for this material:
Parents or older sibling can ask the child to
find and point to the number 3.
Ask, “can you find (3)?”
When the child does, acknowledge them and then
ask, “can you count it for me?”
Acknowledge and play the game until all
numbers have been counted.
Older Children can learn about Odd and Even
numbers with this work. I will try to show this part of this work in another
I really hope that this blogpost explains any
confusions that may have happened during my first instagram live. Most of the
children can use the above presentations. Please have fun working with this
work and learning how smart your children really are! It is really amazing how
fast they learn these Math concepts and language.