MATH IN CHILDREN'S HOUSE
AIM’s Montessori preschool program enables students to learn arithmetic into the thousands. The math program builds upon indirect preparation, especially in the sensorial area. It’s built around a systematic progression from very concrete materials to more abstract operations. Here is a list of different activities and levels of math that AIM preschool students discover:
COUNTING TO 10 & BEYOND
3 ½-year-olds may start with math by using the number rods and spindle boxes to learn the numbers 1 to 10. They learn one-to-one correspondence and learn that the number "three" doesn’t mean the 3rd in a series, but the fact that three individual things are combined together. Children then get introduced to the colored bead bars. Here, the numbers 1 to 10 are represented by differently colored beads strung together in bars. Students soon associate the number with the color; they then add the colored 1 to 9 beads to the golden 10 beads to build numbers to 20.
THE DECIMAL SYSTEM/PLACE VALUE
With the addition of the tens board, students begin to build numbers up to 100, and soon progress to working with the golden beads, which introduce our Montessori preschoolers to the decimal system, and enable them to understand numbers into the thousands (a skill not introduced in California public schools until late 2nd or early 3rd grade!)
ADDITION & SUBTRACTION
Once students know the golden beads and can build four-figure numbers and read them correctly, they learn that addition is nothing more than putting together quantities. In the collective addition game, a teacher has three students make numbers with the golden beads, then combine their quantities. There will be big piles of unit beads, ten-bars, hundred squares, and thousand cubes, making it real to each child what huge numbers they are dealing with!
MOVEMENT TO ABSTRACTION
Once students really understand what the operations of arithmetic mean, they use the stamp game, the dot game, and the small bead frame to steadily transition to more abstract ways of doing math. This process continues seamlessly, with the same materials all the way into our Montessori elementary program.
MATH FACTS PRACTICE
With a wide range of materials, it’s fun to add single-digit figures or subtract them. Students enjoy this practice and learn to control their own work with control charts. There’s no temptation to cheat, as the work is always at the student’s choice, and no rewards or grades are passed out for doing well.