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Maria Lundie
Mathematics Rationale
Dr. Montessori recognized that children are born with a particular kind of mind. A mind that is naturally inclined towards order. This ‘special’ mind is what gives humans the ability to make judgments and to calculate. Dr. Montessori called this ‘the mathematical mind’. Dr. Montessori felt that, if we are to support development, then we must offer mathematics at an early age since this is the kind of support that is appropriate for the kind of mind that we have. Numbers itself cannot be defined and the understanding of the number grows from experience with real objects, but eventually they become abstract ideas. For this reason it is important the way that teachers introduce mathematical materials. It is important for children to explore, experience and experiment with this materials. Spoken language is used to express abstract concepts and to communicate them to others. In addition to the spoken language, humans came to need a language to express quantitative experience, and from this came the language of mathematics. Dr. Montessori knew that children age six and under learn through their senses and through movement, that is, through hands-on, manipulation. She concluded that she needed to provide mathematical concepts in a concrete form, which would be accessible to the children's senses. The Sensorial Material it can be considered the introduction to mathematical concepts. It is exact. It is presented with exactness and will be used by the child with exactness. The activities call for precision so that the child can come into contact with the isolated concepts and through repetition; draw from the essence of each and have a clear abstraction. These concepts help the child to order his mind. He is able to classify experience. Clear perception and the ability to classify leads to precise conclusions. The Sensorial work is a preparation for the study of sequence and progression. It helps the child build up spatial...
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