The Montessori math curriculum is one of the best examples of the unique beauty of Montessori materials. First, the Montessori Practical Life and Sensorial activities give indirect preparations for maths. Then, the Maths materials continue to prepare the child for later learning.
Dr Maria Montessori realized that all children have a “Mathematical Mind” and that when they are given the opportunity to explore math in a concrete way, through “hands-on” materials, abstract math concepts become easier to comprehend. She created her Mathematics and Sensorial curriculum based on the Decimal Numeral System or Base Ten Mathematical system. All Montessori Mathematics materials are based on abstract concepts and create concrete learning materials that children use independently.
The Montessori Math materials cover recognition of math patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, short and long, fraction work and skip counting.
Learning mathematical concepts in a Montessori classroom begins concretely and progresses towards the abstract. They are developed from simple to complex. Order, coordination, concentration, and independence are experienced by the child using these materials.
The first group of Montessori Math's materials introduces sets of one through ten which prepares the child for counting and teaches the value of quantity. Children begin to associate numeral and quantity with number rods and number cards. A child will gain a growing understanding of sequence. Spindle boxes, cards and counters, the short bead stair, and other 1- 10 additional counting activities a teacher may add, reinforce the one through ten numeral concept.
The activities in the Math area are not to be implemented at a set pace. Providing the child with the materials at precisely the right challenge level will enable the child to demonstrate his development to the teacher through his progress. A child that is able to grasp such math concepts as addition and subtraction demonstrates the successful use of the math materials. The materials are so beautifully designed and appropriate for each child during his sensitive periods of learning math. Mathematical apparatus provides the necessary stimulation for the child to learn math concepts more readily.