Sunday, 14 January 2018

Montessori Arithmetic - A Brief Overview

At our little yellow school, it is amazing to witness the variety of Arithmetic activities being worked with in the span of a day.  From the tiny beads of the Multiplication Bead Board and Golden Beads to the ever changing Cards and Counters to the Bead Cabinet where number chains hang like beautiful necklaces, the materials attract the children with their shapes, colours and sizes.  When working with these activities, the children feel that they are doing very important and big work!  They just can't get enough of these materials.  I understand how the children feel as the Arithmetic materials are among my favourite.

In the Montessori classroom, it is not unusual for the children to sit and observe when someone is receiving a lesson.  Last year something amazing happened when I was presenting the Fraction material to the graduates (those children who would be leaving us for grade one).  I called the graduates to the mat and began the presentation.  During the presentation, the classroom became quieter as children left their work and came to observe.  By the end of the lesson, the entire class was gathered around the mat watching and listening.  It was definitely an amazing experience that illustrated the power and the beauty of these materials.

The Montessori Arithmetic curriculum is divided into five sections - Numbers 1 to 10, The Decimal System, Teens and Tens, Memorization (Arithmetic Facts) and the Passage to Abstraction. The beauty of the Montessori Arithmetic materials is that they build sequentially on previous learning, are self-correcting, isolate the concept being learned and introduce the concrete before the abstract.  A very brief description and photographs of a few exercises from each section follows.

Numbers 1 to 10  - This section forms the foundation for all math work.  Here the children learn the quantities 1 - 10 and the concept of zero.  The children then learn the symbols and the sequencing of those numbers.

The Spindle Boxes - Matching Quantity and Symbol to 9

Cards and Counters - Matching Quantity and Symbol to 10
The counters are changed frequently.

The Decimal System - This section introduces the children to the names of the decimal categories (units, tens, hundreds, thousands) and their relative proportions.  The children will form large numbers with this material and experience the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Teens and Tens work parallels the Decimal System.

Introduction to the Decimal System Materials - Beads and Number Cards are introduced separately.

Exploring 'Hundred'

The Golden Beads - Formation of Complex Numbers

The Golden Beads - Addition

Teens and Tens - This work parallels the Decimal System and focuses on counting beyond 10.  The child is introduced to numbers 11 - 19 through the Teen Boards and numbers 11 - - 99 through the Ten Boards.  The child will also be introduced to linear and skip counting.

Teen Boards - Matching Symbol and Quantity

The Hundred Board - Linear Counting to 100
Linear Counting Beyond 100

The Bead Cabinet - Skip Counting the Squares and Cubes of Numbers 1 to 10
The Bead Chains - A Section of the Cube of 5 Chain

Memorization - The purpose of these exercises is to help the child memorize math facts in all four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).

Subtraction Finger Chart

The Multiplication Bead Board

Passage to Abstraction - The child uses the knowledge gained from the Golden Bead Material and the memorization of facts and is lead to the point where s/he can do operations abstractly.

The children are introduced to other mathematical concepts such as Fractions, graphing, money and measurement.

Montessori Fraction Circles - The Denominator

Fractions - Making a Fraction Booklet

Graphing - How many syllables are in your name?
Graphing - How many people are in my family?
Baking - Using a Measuring Cup

This brief snapshot of the Montessori Arithmetic curriculum illustrates just how attractive and inspiring the Montessori Arithmetic materials are.  The children are able to move through the curriculum exploring, understanding and mastering the concepts at their own pace. In the Montessori classroom, math is exciting and fun!

Children display a universal love of mathematics, which is par excellence the science of precision, order and intelligence.

- Maria Montessori

Friday, 22 December 2017

A Visit and A Letter From Santa! ~ Part 2

Earlier this week, Santa came to visit the children at our little yellow school.  It was so nice of him to take time out of his busy schedule to visit.  We treasure our time with him.  Santa left us with a beautiful basket of cookies baked with love by Mrs. Claus and the elves.

A Basket of Cookies From the North Pole

He also gave us this.  What could it be?

A North Pole Mystery

We unrolled it and discovered that it was a letter from Santa!  

A Letter From Santa!

Here is the letter.

Dear Children,

How are things at The Children’s Montessori Academy?  It is always nice to visit your little yellow school and to see all of you.  Mrs. Claus says hello.  She is busy baking cookies and keeping a close eye on the elves.  Why just last night the elves sprinkled flour all over the kitchen floor and started making snow angels in it!  What a mess!  I love those elves but they can be such rascals!

Thank you for your lovely letters.  I read them to Mrs. Claus, the elves, Rudolph and all the reindeer.  Your printing and drawings were so beautiful!   Thank you for telling me such interesting things and for all your great questions.  I’ve got some answers for you.

Alexander asked ~ What time do you go to bed?  I try to be in bed by 8:00 if I don’t fall asleep before that in my favourite chair in front of the fire.  Mrs. Claus always brings me some hot chocolate with marshmallows before bedtime. 

Josslyn asked ~ What is your favourite movie?  Mrs. Claus and I enjoy watching Frosty the Snowman.

Olivia M. asked ~ What is your favourite colour?  Red, always red.

Michael asked ~ Is there snow at the North Pole?   Yes, Michael, we have lots of snow!  It is here all year.  Mrs. Claus and I enjoy taking sleigh rides in the snow with a little hot chocolate and cookies!

Christian asked ~ What are the elves doing?  Right now they spend most of their time in the workshop making toys.  Christmas is coming soon!

Elizabeth asked ~ Do the elves make snowmen?  Once they finish making toys, the elves enjoy making snowmen and having snowball fights.  I join in too sometimes.  It is a lot of fun!

Hashini asked ~ Which elf is your favourite?  I don’t have a favourite, I love them all.  I don’t know what I would do without them.

Now the food questions.  I love food!  Unfortunately, after Christmas Mrs. Claus is putting me on a diet.

Charlize and Jordan asked ~ Which cookies do you like?  Chocolate chip are my favourite.  The very best ones are the ones that children like you make for me to eat on Christmas Eve.

Maddy asked ~ What do you like to eat?  When I’m not eating milk and cookies, I love to eat pepperoni pizza!

Maria asked ~ What does Rudolph like to eat?  Rudolph and the reindeer like to eat carrots.  They also enjoy mushrooms and apples.

Last, but not least, Beatrice asked ~ Do you go on vacation to Florida?  Mrs. Claus and I are flying to Florida right after Christmas!  We have rented a cottage on the beach.  Maybe I will see some of you there.  I will be the one in the red bathing suit!

I hear Mrs. Claus calling, I had better go.  Please continue to work hard and to be kind to one another.  Your caring school family is what makes the little yellow school such a special place.

Have a very Merry Christmas!


As mentioned in a previous blog post, the children wrote letters to Santa.  Although we received a lovely response from Canada Post, I decided to write our own response to the children incorporating the questions they had asked Santa.  It made it a more personal experience.  The children were thrilled at Santa's answers to their questions.  The smiles on their faces and the giggles and laughs at Santa's answers were priceless!  We can't believe that Santa likes pepperoni pizza!  We also can't imagine him in a red bathing suit!  Oh my goodness those elves and the things they get up to!  They really are rascals.

Thank you for the letter, Santa!  

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holiday!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

A Visit and A Letter From Santa! ~ Part 1

Earlier this week, Santa paid us a surprise visit during Music class!  Do you know that Santa has been stopping by our little yellow school since 1999!

It's Santa!

The children were all so excited to see him! 

Santa enjoys music and stayed for our a little of our Music class.  He joined in the singing and dancing.  Santa is quite a good dancer!

After our singing and dancing, Santa wanted to spend a little time talking with us.   Santa and the children had so much so say to one another!  Many children asked about Mrs. Claus and the elves.  They are all doing fine and are very busy at the North Pole.  The reindeer were in the forest next door during our visit.

Spending Time With Santa

Santa so enjoyed his visit at our little yellow school.  We feel so very fortunate that he takes the time to stop by our school every year.  It was so hard to say good bye to Santa.

Time to Go

Saying Good Bye

Before he left, he gave us a beautiful basket of cookies baked with love by Mrs. Claus and the elves.

Thank you Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves.  They look delicious!

 He also gave us this.  What could it be?

From Santa

Monday, 4 December 2017

Dear Santa .....

As a kick-off to our holiday celebrations, the children at our little yellow school have been writing letters to Santa.  Our students will be visiting Santa at the mall with their families to let him know what they want for Christmas.  As Santa's time during mall visits is always so limited, the letters were an opportunity for the children to tell or ask Santa something.  Many children wanted to really get to know the man behind the red suit.  Just who is Santa and what makes him tick?

Our older students wrote their own letters while template letters were filled out with our younger students.  Here are the precious letters. (You can click on the images to make them larger.)

Dear Santa ~ Letters With Something to Tell

I am five years old.  At school I like to print letters.  I like to swim.

I am five years old.  I love to play games.  I love doing work.

I am five years old.  My favourite friend is Elizabeth.

I didn't put up my stockings yet.

I have three brothers.  I am five years old.

I am excited to make cookies for you to eat!

I love you.

I am getting ready to decorate my Christmas tree.  You will love it!

I love you so much!  I will make chocolate cookies for you!

Dear Santa ~ Questions For Santa

Do the elves make snowmen?  How are you all doing with Mrs. Claus?

What's your favourite colour?

What is your favourite movie?

What time do you go to bed?
What does Rudolph like to eat?

You are so great.  Which elf is your favourite?

What do you like to eat?

How are the elves doing?  How are you and Mrs. Claus?

Do you go on vacation to Florida?

Is there snow at the North Pole?

What are the elves doing?

Which cookies do you like?  I love you Santa.  You are the best.

The Santa Letter-writing program is run by Canada Post.  Santa's volunteer elves will respond to the children with one poster letter for each class.  The letter will include each child's name.  It is such a lovely program and a very simple introduction to letter writing. 

Our letters are now on their way to the North Pole! We are looking forward to receiving a reply.