Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Montessori Metal Insets

There are 10 geometrical shapes. The frame is one color and the inset is a diffrent color. The ten shapes are: rectangle, triangle, curvilinear triangle, circle and ellipse on the top rack. On the bottom rack is the quatrefoil, pentagon, square, trapezium and the oval. Some, might find it strange that young children are being introduced to some advanced geometric shapes.

Although the direct aim is preparation for handwriting, the children are being introduced to shapes that they eventually will have to learn anyway. Instead of using silly shapes or designs, Maria Montessori is always thinking ahead! Children love to draw. They are preparing there little hands for the complexities of handwriting and learning geometric shapes!

The general age for this work is between 3-6. (Joshua will be 3 in May)

The aim of this work is to help the child acquire proficiency in using a writting instrument, including lightness of touch, evenness of pressure, continuity of line, control of line, and familiarity with the curves and angles found in letters.

To pick up the inset out of its holder requires the "pincer grip". A lot of the Montessori materials used in the 3-6 classroom, utilize this pincer grip. The child, without even knowing it, is strengthening and preparing there little hands for future handwriting. In traditional schools, children complain that there hands hurt while practicing printing or children's handwriting is poor because their little hands are not adequately prepared for this type of work. You will find with Montessori, that each work prepares the child for the next work.

Joshua is holding the pencil a little too high.
I gave him the first presentation of this work today. In Montessori, you never correct, you observe the child. I noted the observation and I will model the work again or he will see his brother doing this work and he will self-correct himself. If I correct him, I will disturb his train of thought, I will also crush his confidence in doing things himself. I will also teach him to look to me to see if he is doing it right. I can actually cultivate a need for approval. I want him to experience the joy of his work and to give him the opportunity to develop the self confidence of knowing himself if he is doing it right.

Keep in mind, the child does an activity for the joy and satisfaction of it, not to please the adult or for the adults approval . . .We must be lovingly careful not to interfere with praise and or criticism. Just observe the work, ask questions about the work.

I know it is hard and it sounds strange. It was a difficult change for my husband and myself.


Eileen Dowds Minarik said...

This is a beautifully written explanation of the metal insets. May I print this out to share with the families at my school? If you prefer I can just give them the link to your site.
Interestingly I am writing about metal insets in my essay for the school newsletter this week and am inviting parents to a session to present metal insets, handwriting, sound boxes & sandpaper letters, movable alphabet and phonogram alphabet.

I will bookmark your site and put the information on a resource list for parents. At some point I would like my school to be a resource center for homeschoolers. I would like to have a lending library of materials and I would like to be able to share field trips ( I own a bus) and perhaps foreign language and music teachers.

I will read more from this site over the weekend but if your other entries are like this one on the metal insets this is a very valuable site for parents and teachers. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The word is "their" not there. Anyway, it was a nice insight of this activity. I like the note about not correcting the child but let them experiment until get it right. I will be checking the site more often. =)