Montessori learning MAterials
Using Manipulatives to achieve abstraction
For those who are familiar with Montessori classrooms, one thing that generally stands out are the well-maintained, meticulously selected learning materials. Montessori education emphasizes hands-on, project-based learning that allows students to
self-correct and try again until they achieve mastery. Using manipulatives like thermic tiles, counting beads, and movable maps allow students to scaffold their learning with concrete materials until they reach the point in each subject where they can work in abstraction.
For example, different Montessori materials of increasing complexity lead students through a progression of building hand strength and dexterity; tracing letter and number shapes; and eventually writing the alphabet and numbers on their own. When a student can create the letters and numbers with no physical aid, they have reached the stage of writing in abstraction. Of course, during this progression, other skills (such as reading and comprehension) are growing in concert. The Montessori framework weaves these physical, emotional, and psychological priorities into a comprehensive, hands-on curriculum.