A child working with concrete mathematical material.

The concept of Mathematics is first introduced to the children at 3 years old through experiences in Practical Life and the Sensorial areas of the 3 – 6 year old classroom and is referred to as indirect preparation for Mathematics.

What is the Montessori approach to Mathematics in the 3 – 6 year old classroom?

Before any Mathematical abstraction is made the children are offered a concrete, sensorial experience and they are then given time and opportunity for experimental interaction with their materials. Joy in learning Mathematics is essential. Games, mini-challenges, patterns and designs are introduced to the children to ensure that Mathematics is fun and accessible.

The Montessori approach to Mathematics includes:

  • Only one concept is presented to the child at a time.
  • Lessons are given one-on-one.
  • Each lesson follows on from the previous concept and builds upon what the child already knows.
  • The child’s exploration and discoveries are made with concrete materials.
  • Specific language and concepts are presented to the children to match their experience and expand on their understandings.

What do the children explore as part of the Montessori Mathematics lessons in our Stage 1 classrooms?

Indirect preparation plays an important role, as children 3 – 4 years explore Mathematics in Montessori. This occurs within practical life and sensorial activities.

Child drawing geometric shapes.

Practical life

How mathematics is related to everyday experiences:

  • cause and effect
  • logical sequence
  • spatial relations
  • gravity/physical force
  • coordinated movement
  • practical activities such as cutting a snack, feeding pets
  • moving to music.

Sensorial – discriminating fine differences

  • refinement of sensory perception
  • matching
  • one-to-one correspondence
  • creating sets
  • grading objects
  • exactness and precision
  • development of the ability to comprehend relationship
  • observe accurately and follow an order to problem solve.

Between the ages of 3 – 6, the children are introduced to and learn:

  • counting
  • continuation of counting
  • the decimal system
  • addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • memorisation exercises (in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)
  • passage to abstraction
  • fractions.