Philosophy

Process & Product: Math, Magnets and More

At our school the children engage in many “works” that do not produce a product.  The Montessori philosophy is one of process over product.  Most of what we do does not go home in a backpack but does go home in other ways.  Children at this age learn through experience.  They absorb so much throughout the day while working and socializing with others.  We call our activities “work” and each one is thoroughly thought out before it is presented to the children.  As the children grow older, they begin to gain control over fine motor skills (with the help of interaction with many of our “works”) and may begin to bring home more “product.”

Here are some examples of non-product work:

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Learning the decimal system (unit, ten, hundred and thousand) by playing the “Bring Me” game.

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In this game the teacher asks the child (based on their abilities) to “bring me” a specific number using the golden beads.  Depending on the student, this may sound like: “bring me five units,” or “bring me forty two,” or “bring me three hundreds, seven tens and six units.”  The children carry their trays over to the shelf (the “bank”) and collect the corresponding number of beads then returns to the teacher.  They are often seen helping each other.  The teacher will then count the beads out loud to reinforce the amount that the child brought back.  This can also be played when the child is ready for “Bring Me” with the symbol or numbers.

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Once the children have worked on learning the values of the golden beads and understand the symbol, they are able to work on addition as a group game.

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This child works with the “Snake Game.”  Here she learns base ten with the golden beads.  She is understanding the ten addition tables.

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She starts counting the beads and stops at ten.  She then removes what she can, marks where she left off and replaces these beads with a ten bar creating a long, golden snake.

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This Kindergartner practices abstracting addition with the “Addition Blind Chart.”  He uses folded slips that contain written addition combinations and can find the answer by running his finger down from the top and over from the left side.  Where they meet is the sum.  Sometimes this can create a product if the child chooses to write down the equations.

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Here is a child engaging in our magnetic/non-magnetic work this week.

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This magnet work pulls or pushes this tiny car.

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This magnet work uses iron filings and sand.

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Learning to tie using the bow frame.

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Cutting the washed apples from last week.

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Pouring into a pan.

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Making applesauce for snack.

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This child has gone through a process of getting out the work, putting on an apron, washing hands and returning.  He is engaged in our food prep work of making a caprese salad on a toothpick.  He has just turned three and can do these things by himself now.

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He then gets to eat the yummy treat.

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This child uses a sensorial work, Color Box 3, to enhance her visual skills by grading from light to dark in a single shade.

This is only a very small sample of what happens every day at AACH.  There is so much happening and most of it does not result in a product to send home in a backpack at the end of the week.

“Work”

Why do we call what we do “work” in the classroom?  You may have heard your child talking about their “work” and wondered why these small children are using that word to describe what they do every day.  This article by Ana Amiguet at MariaMontessori.com helps to explain.  http://mariamontessori.com/mm/?p=1982