The remarkable Montessori math materials not only teach basic counting skills, but bring abstract concepts such as the decimal system, squaring, cubing, and geometry into the realm of the preschool mind.
Dr. Montessori demonstrated that when children have access to hands-on mathematical materials, they can easily and naturally assimilate the basic principles of arithmetic.
The materials for mathematics introduce the concept of quantity and the symbols for quantity – the numbers 1 through 10. The quantity is introduced by a series of rods, which children can count and compare. They matche sets of symbol cards with the rods.
Using a variety of beads and symbol cards the child becomes familiar with the numbers as a decimal system including concrete experiences with the operations of additions, subtraction, multiplication and division.
These exercises not only teach the children to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function. They learn concrete mathematical concepts and the materials lead them to the abstract, so that their understanding has substance. Because of the concrete nature of the materials, children are able to work with the basics of fractions and geometry.