Hands-On Learning in Montessori Classrooms
At first glance in a Montessori classroom, you’ll notice a tower of pink wooden blocks. These blocks aren’t just meant for stacking, but they help the child learn about cubing, depth perception, and even the decimal system.
The ‘Pink Tower’ is part of a specially designed program of materials, classroom setup, curriculum and freedom of choice that’s dedicated to hands-on learning.
One of the many things that distinguish the Montessori style of education from the traditional approach is that it encourages children to learn by touching, feeling and doing. Students move around the classroom, pick out materials from the age-appropriate shelves and then bring them to the table or mat to explore them and make discoveries for themselves.
A Prepared Environment
Maria Montessori believed that since children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, the best way to support their natural curiosity is through a sensory-based learning environment.
A ‘prepared environment’ is fine-tuned and detail-driven, where every element is deliberately placed. The art and posters are hung at the students’ eye-level, and the furniture is child-sized too.
When children learn by touching and exploring, they make neural connections and gradually move towards abstract learning. For instance, children learn about numbers by manipulating bead chains, rods, sandpaper numbers, and more.
Similarly, when learning to read, they trace their fingers along the letters made of sandpaper and repeat the sound the letter makes. After hearing and visualizing the letter, they move on to playing with objects that start with the sounds of that letter, such as a monkey stuffed toy for the letter ‘M’. This associates pictures and words with sounds.
In later classes, students move on to reading and writing on paper.
When children manipulate materials with their own hands, they make use of their motor memory, which further enriches the learning process. It’s much more valuable and exciting to make discoveries for yourself than to be told what you need to know.
Preparing Children for Life
Using the same hand-on approach in Practical Life activities, children are taught to do daily life activities, such as tidying up their toys, washing their hands, buttoning their shirts, setting up the table for lunchtime.
Your child’s work cycle in a Montessori classroom includes picking out the activity that interests them, exploring it as long as it remains interesting, cleaning it up, putting it back on the shelf and choosing another material of choice. This cycle facilitates variations in your child’s learning process, developing coordination, independence, concentration, and a sense of order.
If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art Montessori Academy in the Chalfont area, head over to our childcare center.
Abacus Montessori Academy, a Chalfont child care center offers a sensory classroom environment with tons of Montessori materials that foster creativity and independence!
Visit our facility now or contact us for more information about our child care centre.