Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Banker's Game and Long Addition

The ubiquitous Banker's Game that uses the Montessori Golden Bead set to show children the mechanics of long addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

If you have not seen the Golden Bead material, the large cube below represents one thousand, the flat square represents one hundred, the bar has ten beads, and the unit is one. All of the material contains the actual number of beads, making it accessible and fascinating to young children learning math. The setup for the Banker's Game contains a lot of these bead materials!

A sample long addition problem might look like this: 2489 + 9750 = ? Your child would take the representative number of each thousands, hundreds, tens, and units, and then add them to get the sum. The process is very important because it helps create the link between concept and concrete.

Interested in Montessori math? Subscribe to our monthly Montessori curriculum newsletters on our site.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Montessori at Home: More on Strollers

Are you new to Montessori? If so, here are a few tips for making the transition from a stroller to out-of-the-stroller:

  1. Set up the physical environment of your house so that your child can move about and do things independently. You should not need to say "no" or proffer corrections for daily activities, if everything is set up well and stocked with child-sized equipment and furniture.
  2. When you interact with your child, try to kneel down to his or her level and use a normal conversational tone and vocabulary as you speak.
  3. Avoid repeating yourself or raising your voice to get your child's attention. If you feel the need to do this, step back and see what is happening. Do you need to interrupt your child at this moment? If so, can you phrase your question or concern differently? Is there a pattern to this behavior for both of you? How can it be changed to make overall interaction better?
  4. Avoid grabbing your child or physically getting his or her attention. Your child will just stop paying attention to your words, so the result will not be what you desire. If your child is grabbing or breaking things, try to figure out how to prevent it from happening. Is your child bored? Does he or she not have suitably interesting and stimulating equipment with which to work? Does your child know how to hold and touch ordinary objects such as books, plants, and pets in an appropriate manner?

More coming up shortly for the next steps!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No camera when you need one!

I saw a child who was at least four years old strapped into a stroller the other day in NYC. The nanny was pushing a double decker stroller with a younger child strapped into the bottom section, they were walking through a crowded organic food store, and the older child was demanding to be let out of the stroller, but she was securely belted in.

For everyone who hasn't read earlier posts here, get your children out of the stroller when they can walk or even toddle! And, when a child is old enough to use full sentences to demand release, there's something wrong if you keep them tied up. No need to waste money on Montessori school or other private school tuition if you are going to do that.

Later, I realized I should have run home, gotten my camera, come back, and taken a picture for that nanny cam site that I heard about. Next time I go to the store, the camera will be with me, so maybe I'll have a photo to share.

What would you have done? I didn't want to say something snarky to the nanny, or, hey, even rather kind, because then I would have been walking away, leaving her in a bad mood with someone else's children. It didn't seem like a good idea, but I wish I'd done something...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs for Children?

An excellent article, 8-Year-Olds on Statins? A New Plan Quickly Bites Back, appeared in the New York Times on July 8th.

The author, Tara Parker-Pope, covered the current debate on the rather extreme recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children with high cholesterol be given cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins. The debate includes a number of pediatricians at notable hospitals who vehemently oppose the idea based on safety concerns, lack of historical data for this age group, and lack of overall data for the drugs.

The entire article is definitely worth reading if your child does have high cholesterol. In the meantime, try our Montessori curriculum newsletters for ideas to keep your child fit, healthy, and active during the entire school year!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Montessori Sensitive Period for Language: Introduction

Do you have a child under six?

Take advantage of this sensitive period for language and introduce reading aloud, books your child can read, and spoken foreign languages!

Time spent reading aloud to your child every night reaps great rewards as a lifetime love of reading is developed.

Short of money? Have you seen the copyright free eBooks at Here is a quick link to their Peter Pan edition.

More coming up shortly on sensitive periods of development, so please check back soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sensorial Development Exercise

The Sensorial section of the Montessori classroom is designed to help children refine, develop, and explore their sensory abilities ranging from taste to touch and sight to sound.

Try the Sound Boxes (shown below) to give your child the opportunity to work with his or her sense of sound. There are six sets of matched cylinders in the box that have different contents to make varying degrees and types of sounds. Your child will shake them to listen to the sounds and then match them based on the sound.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Practical Life: Pouring

A classroom favorite in Montessori classrooms for children under six is pouring water.

Start here for younger children and prepare two child-sized pitchers and a tray. You can fill one pitcher 3/4 full of water, place both pitchers on the tray, and put everything on a shelf.

Show your child how to use one hand to hold the handle while placing the other hand on the opposite side of the pitcher to pour it. He or she can pour the water from one pitcher to another.

Once your child is comfortable with the mechanics of pouring, you can provide glasses for the exercise so your child can refine his or her pouring techniques and accompanying fine and gross motor skills.