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The Practical Life area of the classroom introduces the children to purposeful activities through exercises of everyday living. The materials help the child develop a sense of order, concentration, coordination and independence - the foundation for further learning.
The Sensorial materials support the refinement of the child's senses. Each material in the series isolates one quality - whether size or color, sound or smell. Exploring strongly contrasted extremes and incremental gradations within the materials, helps the child increase their ability to discriminate and make judgements.
Most of the language materials in the classroom are created by the teacher, utilizing her understanding and on-going research of how children acquire language and develop the ability to read and write. Dr. Montessori created the three foundational materials: the Sandpaper Letters, which use three senses (seeing, hearing and touching) to introduce the child to letter sounds, the Moveable Alphabet, which helps the child build or encode words and the Metal Insets, which support the child's practice of the strokes needed when writing.
The joy of numbers is introduced through concrete materials beginning with the Sandpaper Numerals and teacher-created materials which allow practice associating symbols and quantities. As the child's understanding progresses, higher numbers (teens and tens) are introduced through the Seguin Boards and related materials like the Short Chains and introductory number process materials (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Composing higher numbers and further number process activities continue with the Decimal beads (ones, tens, hundred and thousands) which help the child begin to understand place value and the position of zero. More abstract materials are introduced, including the creation of written records, as the child continues their exploration and understanding of number.
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