We looked into what the Montessori education is all about by exploring its various precepts and identifying the educational materials that are commonly used in this environment. Our research confirmed that the educational game Petit Menhir fits in perfectly, due to its open-ended nature, its wooden pieces to manipulate and its pretty colors.
For free and happy children
Developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Maria Montessori, the Montessori education is not based on pre-established theories, with fixed rules that do not take into account the specific needs of each child. On the contrary, the freedom of the child and the notion of openness are at the heart of the Montessori approach, and its general philosophy is also based on fostering the autonomy of small children, letting them progress at their own pace and giving them confidence. The ultimate goal of applying these precepts is the full development of the child.
The mindset of this approach is to respect the child's interest rather than imposing constraints with a multitude of extracurricular activities. We prefer to give them "free time" and it is in these moments that they will develop their creativity and potentially identify an interest that belongs to them and that is not simply the desire of their parents. The child is really at the heart of this educational method!
The objectives of the Montessori education
Among the many objectives of the Montessori education are the development of self-esteem and self-confidence, curiosity, concentration and the pleasure of learning and enthusiasm.
Maria Montessori also believed that the indulgence of intellectual and manual curiosity enables children to achieve a state of inner peace which by extension promotes peace with others. On the one hand, children should be left to fend for themselves (self-motivation, self-learning, etc.) and on the other hand they should be invited to collaborate with others and to take into account their own needs. This is the balance advocated by Maria Montessori.
The educational wooden game Petit Menhir is perfectly suited to this approach, as it is an open-ended game that allows children to develop their senses while having fun. There are some instinctive rules (height game, speed game or creativity game) but the children are free to play as they wish and to invent their own rules.
For example, we were particularly impressed by the imagination of Lilou, an early childhood teacher, who designed specific workshops for the educational building game Petit Menhir, which she uses in her classroom with her pupils. Take a look at LilouTeach's website here, it's really worth it!
Which educational materials for Montessori education?
We will mention here some examples of educational material adapted to the Montessori pedagogy according to the age of the children or the objectives to be reached.
For early learning
Between the ages of 0 and 3, the material should guide the child in the discovery of shapes and colours:
- shape boxes, with cubes, cylinders or spheres
- discs or cubes on rods for stacking
- simplified nesting puzzles
This material is useful for awakening the child's senses and for the child to materialize and assimilate the fundamental concepts:
- length bars
- color box
- constructor triangles
- wooden pieces to manipulate and stack
Anything that can facilitate the initiation of writing and reading:
- pencil holders
- rough letters
- mobile alphabet
When it comes to moving from sensory experience to abstract concepts:
- tokens and beads
- Seguin's tables
- small wooden blocks
For each age group or desired objective, we note that these materials are very simple and allow to isolate concepts (especially dimensions, colors and shapes), placing the child at the centre of learning and allowing him or her to have an individual experience.
Developing fine motor skills with Montessori: manipulate!
Learning fine motor skills is essential for the child and will open the way to autonomy and allow him to explore his environment through his senses, and by interacting with the people around him. In the Montessori pedagogy, this learning is practiced on objects that invite the child to act and to do real work with a real purpose.
The manipulation of objects for construction purposes is therefore particularly appropriate and central to the Montessori approach. This allows the child to understand and assimilate the notion of grasping in order to develop fine motor skills, while at the same time having fun making free constructions and letting the imagination run wild.
In conclusion, we were able to see that the Montessori education is above all a state of mind which first takes care of respecting the interest of the child and the full development of its personality.
The wooden educational game Petit Menhir combines all the characteristics of the Montessori approach as it offers fun challenges that will work on the fine motor skills of children and allow them to develop a multitude of other senses. In concrete terms, the Petit Menhir construction game allows children to :
- Develop logical thinking
- Develop fine motor skills
- Stimulate concentration
- Learn rules and instructions
- Socialise, collaborate and laugh