Lessons in the classroom are comprised of particular Montessori materials that facilitate much of children’s work. These ingenious materials are self-teaching and, with instruction, inspire children to discover for themselves. The materials contain a built-in “control of error”, for example things only fit a particular way (think of a puzzle).
Montessori’s hands-on activities teach abstract concepts while empowering children. For example, the Early Childhood language curriculum includes Sandpaper Letters. Children trace the letters with their fingers while repeating the sound. This creates a memory built of sight, sound and touch. This challenges children to recognize letters before they have even developed the fine motor skills to hold a pencil. The math curriculum uses a sequence of beads as a foundation. Simple math concepts are learned using visual, tactile and abstract cues.
Montessori materials are designed to create and enhance a natural progression rather than dictate a series of unconnected concepts.