Aristotle said, “There is nothing in the mind which is not first in the senses”.
Montessori provides a complete curriculum area devoted to enhancing the child’s ability to process and refine information gained via the 5 senses.
The “concept” of number is first introduced, for example, in a “material” known as the “number rods”.
These banded rods are a natural progression from the “red rods” in the sensorial curriculum, but are “banded” to indicate the value. Each band is 10cm so that the “10 rod” is a metre long. By moving and working with the rods, the children absorb concepts.
An example of these is when the “9 rod” and the “1 rod” are placed alongside the “10 rod”. The equal length makes visibly plain to the child that they are of equal lengths or values.
Addition and subtraction concepts flow easily because of the concrete learning which has taken place.
Numeracy, geometry and even algebra is offered to the 3-5 year old child in this concrete “play” format.