Today we are going to focus on Montessori materials, the sensory-based learning tools that we use in the classroom. As you already know, Maria Montessori designed these learning materials over 100 years ago to provide children with opportunities to discover learning through independent observation, repetition, and practice.
The sandpaper numerals are a tactile material with which the little ones can see and touch the shape of the numbers. The purpose of this material is to teach children the symbols that represent each number, allowing them to visually identify any number from 0 to 9.
Children are introduced to the Sandpaper Numbers from three years of age, and they are often presented in a three-period lesson. Three-period lessons are a trademark of Montessori education. It is a method used to introduce new vocabulary and concepts to a child that involves three key steps: naming, recognition, and recall.
1. Naming: Take the first card and trace the number while saying the number out loud. Offer the child a turn. Repeat the process with the next two cards ensuring the child has a turn at tracing the numbers each time. It is essential to simply “label” each number with just one word, so they can make the connection between the word and the shape of the number.
2. Recognition: Ask the child to find each one. Point to each number and ask the child: Where is 1? Where is 2? And let them point to each number.
3. Recall: This third step is only used with children who are verbal. Ask the child what each of the numbers is called: What is this?
Once the child is familiar with all numbers, you can introduce the concept of writing. Use a tray filled with sand to show the child how to write each number after you have traced it with your finger. You can also follow up by giving them a small blackboard to draw the numbers. Ensure you give the child time to retrace the Sandpaper Numbers if needed.
We know your children enjoy working with these materials every day in the classroom, and we want you to learn a little bit about them in our newsletters. We encourage you to ask your child’s teacher for extension activities that you can do at home.
Watch one of our team in action below and enjoy the work!