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"Maths in the Montessori Curriculum" - 4th Mothers' Montessori Training held

posted 18 Mar 2012, 06:59 by Webmaster Alqamar   [ updated 18 Mar 2012, 06:59 ]
The 4th Mothers' Montessori Training was held on Saturday 17th March. The focus was on Maths in the Montessori curriculum. The two hour training was provided by Sr. Aysha. 
"The mathematical mind .. is a sort of mind built up with exactitude" said Maria Montessori. Mathematical activities in the Montessori curriculum are designed to help a child understand Maths using concrete material thereby setting the base for acquiring a solid understanding of Mathematical principles.  Children start the preparation for Mathematics at around 3 years. The preparatory activities are focussed on building an understanding of quantitiy, shapes, sequencing, spatial relationships and classifications which lay the groundwork for later mathematical thinking.
The subject is formally introduced at 4 years with activities which help the child understand discrete quantities, sequencing and symbol association. Once the child has mastered this, the place value system (decimal system) is introduced where the child understands the different catagories of numbers ranging from units, tens, thousands. He learns how to construct numbers and how to associate physical quantities with these numbers and moves on to understanding conversion between different catagories. He learns to do the different operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and develops a solid understanding of carry over and borrowing.  The third stage works in parallel to introduce the child to traditional number names, linear counting, skip counting etc.  The last stage is one where the child consolidates his entire understanding and does operations using larger and larger numbers. A child understands that the essential operations remain the same, no matter how large the number gets.  The child is also introduced to word problems which help him abstract a real world problem and apply his mathematical skills to solve it. 
Geometry is also introduced at an early age with exposure to 2 & 3D shapes, classifications, geometry nomenclature etc.  A child learns to manipulate shapes to constuct different other shapes, learn about correspondence and congruency. 
The beauty of the Montessori method is how it provides a deep understanding of basic concepts. Children spend as much time mastering each concept as they need, without fear of exams or being left behind - the two factors which induce a deep fear of mathematics in children. This approach is at direct variance with the traditional method where children simply memorize number symbols, names and method of operations.   The speed with which mathematical concepts are introduced in regular school does not allow a child to consolidate his learning.  Given the lack of fundametal groundwork, children approach maths as a black box and often simply try to apply whichever tool in their toolkit which comes in handy. Unfortunately, this approach fails to create the ability in the child to abstract reality which is fundamental to Mathematics.
Sr Aysha had the mothers working with the material to realise how the mathematical concepts are acquired.  The mothers were very happy to have attended the training.
Webmaster Alqamar,
18 Mar 2012, 06:59