In this blog post we want to talk about the child’s mathematical mind in the Elementary environment.
The mathematical mind in the Elementary environment
“When the child is given freedom to move about in a world of objects, he is naturally inclined to perform the tasks necessary for his development entirely on his own.” — Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
At Greenleaves Montessori American School, we work every day to offer a comprehensive teaching-learning process in the Kindergarten and Elementary stage, awakening in the children interest and responsibility towards the community, the natural world and values such as solidarity, collaboration and peace.
Today we would like to talk about the importance of teaching mathematics in our montessori curriculum as an American school.
In the Elementary Environment, we use “Heuristic Activities” to learn arithmetic concepts: At Greenleaves Montessori, the Montessori Guides using experience to learn and improve: involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods: of or relating to exploratory problem solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques.
At ages 6–9, the lower elementary years focus on moving toward abstract thought. Students build on their previous knowledge learning nomenclature and classifying characteristics of points, lines, angles, properties of triangles, circles, etc.
Heuristic activities provide a pathway to learning.
They develop a thinking process that can be used in a variety of contexts. First, there is the exploration: “Let’s see how this works.” Then, there is the analysis: “What did we learn?” And finally, there is the synthesis: “Where do we go from here?”
This may sound like a pretty complex process for Elementary children to put into practice, but building the neural pathways early helps set the foundation for their future learning.
An example of how we work math in our Greenleaves Montessori American School is through The Addition Strip Board. Using the Addition Strip Board, the child practices the sequence of addition combinations 1–9, and begins the process of memorization of the addition tables.
The Addition Strip Board.
The material is composed of a hardboard chart 12 squares by 18 squares with the numbers 1–18 printed across the top.
Stored in a hardwood box are the strips used for the exercise, 9 red strips divided into squares and 9 solid blue strips, both printed with the numerals 1–9.
At Greenleaves Montessori American School we attach great importance to the individual rhythms of each child in their learning process so we offer the material that best suits their needs and thereby enhance their talent instead of repressing it with activities that are frustrating to he/she.