Maria Montessori created scientific materials that are still used in Montessori classrooms today. She never created materials for infants or toddlers, though there are materials for these age groups that have been inspired by her work. If you plan to implement authentic materials, here are must-haves.
This teaches infants that even though they might not see an object, it's not gone forever. Indirectly, they will be strengthening focus, coordination and fine motor skills through a whole-hand grasp.
Here your child will learn to put an object inside of something, and take it out again. Simple for you and me but a brand new concept for an infant!
This, again, teaches object permanence and improves hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Learning Towers are great for toddlers because they give them the height they need to complete purposeful activities on the counter... with you! From food prep, to baking and cooking, to cleaning to just seeing and being a part of the action -- this allows for that.
Pikler triangles offer an indoor gym for toddlers. They learn about their bodies' strengths and struggles and they learn perseverance and determination.
The Pink Tower, or Tower of Cubes, is a perfect choice to refine muscle movements. It teaches visual discrimination, coordination, and precision.
Knobless Cylinders are great for building, stacking, measuring, and comparing. Having all 4 boxes allows your child to make patterns and to begin to learn about dimensions.
The Solids refine a child's stereognostic sense. This means using tactile information to perceive and recognize the form of an object without visual or auditory information.
Sandpaper Letters heighten a child's awareness of letters and their sounds and prepares a child for writing and reading. The action of tracing the sandpaper letters with their fingertips puts the shape of the letter into a child's muscle memory.
We write before we read. We do this because children should learn to first understand how sounds work before they memorize the look of a word to read. The Movable Alphabet is a box containing all 26 letters that children use to phonetically put together sounds to make words.
Cards and counters bring an abstract concept into concrete terms. Children can feel each counter (or bead, penny, mini eraser) as they count. They learn numerals and assign correct quantities and this work can teach the concept of odd and even numbers, too.
The Hundred Board is great for counting and reinforcing numbers 1 to 100; number recognition, number sequencing, number patterns, and for skip counting.
Children learn to count the concrete beads, then they combine those beads with color coded numerals. They learn place value: units, tens, hundreds and thousands. This material is used to teach all four operations beginning with 4-digit addition, then multiplication, subtraction and division.
Having a globe and a map to compare and contrast is great. The Continent Map is a good choice because you can talk about land/water/air, learn about the seven continents (their names, cultures, holidays, people, homes, foods, animals, animal homes, etc.). Individual continent maps are available too for country and flag studies.
Children at this age are in their sensitive period for language so anytime we can give them words for what they see (or can't see) is an opportunity for purposeful work. From 3-part matching cards, to nomenclature cards, to making small booklets of "parts of a bird" -- all these activities grow your child's vocabulary.
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