Math in the children's house
If you look back in the history of mankind, you will see that the concept of quantity and counting have played a role from the very beginning. Like language, mathematics is a natural function of the human mind - Maria Montessori spoke of the "mathematical mind" that every human being possesses. So why are there so many people who have an aversion to mathematics? It could be because of the way they were "taught" mathematics.
From concrete to abstract
Children learn on the basis of their concrete experiences. On this basis, they develop abstract concepts as well as their imagination. In the children's house, the children have the opportunity and plenty of time to handle concrete sizes, lengths and quantities and to build their own abstract ideas from them. Through this arises a "feeling" for quantities and sizes; the concept is not taught.
As with writing and reading, there is also indirect preparation for working with mathematical concepts. During the activities of daily life, the child constantly makes experiences with regard to the observance of logical sequences, directions, perception of space and position, volume (when filling a small jug with water), weight or mass (when carrying heavy objects), shapes (when folding cloths) and much more. Counting is done when setting the table or preparing snacks. The child constantly experiences mathematical concepts in a natural way during the course of the day. This indirect preparation is even more intensive when working with the sensory materials. Here, they are ordered from small to large, from light to heavy or from short to long. All these activities are the basis for later counting and a response to the child's need for concrete and sensory activities.
The Mathematics Material
The mathematics material is a response to the different sensitive phases of the child between 3 and 6 years. It is clearly structured and ordered very precisely, gives him the opportunity to deal with it in an active and acting way, coordinating his movements more and more, and it enables him to have sensory experiences.
The mathematics material in the children's house is divided into six areas:
- Counting from 1 to 10 and the introduction of zero
- The introduction of the decimal system and the four basic arithmetic operations
- Counting on (beyond 10)
- Mental arithmetic - i.e. storing in memory
- The transition to abstraction
- The fraction
The starting point is always concrete experiences - and they gradually lead to abstraction. In the process, the child is given enough time to make its own discoveries. The most important goal is to give the child the experience that mathematics is fun and can be used meaningfully in its own life.