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MATH
In The Absorbent Mind,
Montessori says "Articles of mathematical precision do not occur in the little
one's ordinary environment. Nature provides him with trees, flowers and
animals, but not with these. Hence, the child's mathematical tendencies may
suffer from lack of opportunity (p. 186) If concrete mathematical experiences
are present to the child during the Absorbent Mind Stage, the child will
incorporate within his intellect the basis for mathematical abstractions.
Montessori identified man's tendencies to calculate, reason and to abstract. To
abstract means to take out of the experience. It is a point of arrival and not
of departure. Mathematics is a set of abstractions and it includes arithmetic,
algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. They express ideas in figures and
symbols. The child experiences these concepts with materialized abstractions
which are sensorial based concrete experiences that will lead the child to
abstraction. Abstraction can not be taught. It must be taken from the
experience of the individual. The young child takes in the concrete experiences
through the senses and forms the structure of the intellect. Math lessons are
presented in sequential order to lead the child to abstraction. A pattern of
concrete, symbol and a combination of the concrete and the symbol is evident in
the materials. Montessori begins a new concept with a perspective of the whole
and proceeds to the detailed components. The emphasis is placed on the process
of the operation rather than the product.
