The Montessori Materials
“Nothing goes into the mind that does not first go through the hands.”
- Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori materials embody the learning curriculum and are designed to stimulate the child into logical thought and independent discovery. The Montessori teacher shows the child how to use the materials independently and the child engages with them, at their own pace and in accordance with their own needs and interests. In this way, the child experiences the learning curriculum in a highly personnalised format.
The Montessori materials are enticing and simple to use. However, beneath the beauty and simplicity, lies a deep intentionality. The Montessori materials in any given classroom provide for sufficient independent learning and discovery to span three years of any individual child’s development.
The materials are each designed to meet one or more specific needs in the child, and every piece of material has been developed in the context of all the other materials. They are offered to the child in a sequence, which promotes the gradual layering of learning and understanding. In addition, not only do the materials relate to all others in the classroom, but they also refer to the materials which the child has worked with an earlier classroom, and as well as referring to the materials they will see in the next Montessori classroom, when they are older.
Each piece of material has what is known as a "control of error". If the child has done something incorrectly it will be self-evident. The geometric shape, for example, won't fit the hole; the water will spill on the table or the last label will not match the last picture. Being able to see his or her own mistake allows the child to work independently.
You can explore a full range of Montessori materials under our Resources link.