Montessori education is a unique and progressive approach to early childhood education that focuses on the development of the whole child. One of the foundational principles of Montessori education is the use of hands-on, sensory-based learning materials that allow children to explore and discover the world around them in a meaningful way. One of these materials is the Montessori geometric solids. These are a set of 3D shapes that come in different sizes and colors, and they are used to help children understand the concepts of shape, size, and spatial relationships.
The Montessori geometric solids are an important part of the Montessori curriculum, and they are typically introduced to children between the ages of three and six. However, many parents and caregivers may not be familiar with this material or how to present it to their children. In this blog post, we will explore what Montessori geometric solids are, why they are important, and how to present them to children in a way that will help them.
What Are Montessori Geometric Solids?
The Montessori Geometric Solids are a set of ten wooden three-dimensional shapes that have been sanded smooth and painted in a uniform color, usually blue. These shapes are housed in a wooden box, along with stands for each solid, to prevent them from rolling.
The Montessori Geometric Solids are a fundamental component of the sensorial curriculum area in Montessori education. These materials allow children to explore and develop an understanding of three-dimensional shapes by providing them with tangible, physical objects to handle and manipulate.
The Montessori Geometric Solids set includes a variety of shapes:
- triangular-based prism
- square-based pyramid
- rectangular prism
- triangular prism
The Purpose of the Montessori Geometric Solids
The Montessori Geometric Solids serve multiple important purposes in the Montessori curriculum, including:
- Developing the Stereognostic Sense: The Geometric Solids provide children with opportunities to develop their stereognostic sense, which is the ability to perceive and understand the properties of objects through touch and manipulation. By feeling each solid’s weight, texture, and shape, children develop a deep understanding of the physical properties of different materials and objects, which is an important precursor to many other areas of learning.
- Introducing pre-geometry work: The Geometric Solids are often used as a precursor to more advanced geometry work in the Montessori curriculum. By developing an understanding of the basic properties of shapes and space through Geometric Solids, children are better prepared to tackle more complex geometry lessons later on.
- Providing control of error: The Geometric Solids are designed to be self-correcting, meaning that children can easily identify when they have made a mistake or need to make adjustments. This helps children develop a sense of independence and responsibility in their learning, as they can work through problems independently and take ownership of their progress.
How to Present the Montessori Geometric Solids to Young Learners
Presenting the Montessori Geometric Solids to young learners requires careful preparation and planning to ensure that the children engage with the materials in a meaningful and effective way.
- Prepare the environment: Invite the child to a table and place the wooden geometric solids box in the top right corner.
- Introduce the topic: Tell the child that today they will be learning about shapes.
- Start with recognizable shapes: Begin by taking out one shape at a time, starting with the most recognizable shapes, such as the sphere.
- Explaining its characteristics: By touching them tell your kid to see “this has no edges or no sides. It is called a sphere.”
- Place the shape on a working mat: Place it on the mat and allow the child to touch, feel, and observe it for a while.
- Ask the child to identify the shape: Ask the child, “which shape is this?” and let them answer.
- Introduce the next shape: If the child answers correctly, introduce them to the next shape and repeat steps 4-6. If not, explain the shape again by touch and feel.
- Repeat until all shapes are introduced: Repeat steps 4-7 until all six shapes are introduced.
- Encourage exploration: Allow the child to explore the other solids in the basket and encourage them to touch, feel, and observe each object.
- Prepare the environment: Invite your little one to work with you and guide them to the sensorial curriculum area. Place the Geometric Solids material in the top right corner of the work mat.
- Introduce the topic: Tell the child that they will explore the Geometric Solids today.
- Choose familiar shapes: Allow the kid to select 3 or 4 shapes they are familiar with. Put these shapes in a separate basket and cover them with a scarf.
- Identify the shape by touch: Put your hand underneath the scarf, and using touch, identify the shape you can feel by saying: “I am holding a cube.”
- Check the identification: Pull out the shape you have grasped to check if you have correctly identified the Geometric Solid.
- Give the child a turn: Give your little one a turn to identify a hidden solid, ensuring they identify the shape aloud before revealing their selection.
- Repeat with other shapes: Repeat steps 4-6 until you and the child identify all the shapes correctly.
- Pack away: Pack away the shapes you have identified with your student, returning the Montessori Sensorials to the sensorial shelves.
After introducing the Montessori Geometric Solids to children, it is important to provide them with a variety of extension activities that reinforce their understanding of three-dimensional shapes. These extension activities not only help children to apply their knowledge of geometric solids but also develop other important skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and fine motor skills.
1. Play-Doh Solids
To add a hands-on element to the Montessori Geometric Solids, you can have children make their own three-dimensional shapes using play-doh. Provide them with pictures of the different geometric solids or show them the solids themselves as a reference and have them create their own versions. This activity encourages creativity and fine motor skills and reinforces the concept of three-dimensional shapes.
2. Stereognostic Activities
Stereognostic activities are activities that allow children to use their sense of touch to identify and recognize objects. To practice stereognostic skills with the Montessori Geometric Solids, you can place a selection of solids in a bag and have the child use their hands to identify each shape without looking. Another activity is to place one or two shapes on a tray and have the child close their eyes and use their hands to identify the shapes. These activities help develop sensory awareness and discrimination skills.
3. Build a Castle
Building a castle is an engaging and fun activity that allows children to apply their knowledge of geometric solids. Provide children with a variety of materials, such as blocks, cardboard, or foam shapes, and have them create their own castles. Encourage them to use different geometric solids in their design, such as cubes for the walls or cones for the turrets. This activity fosters creativity and spatial awareness and fosters the child’s problem-solving skills.
The Montessori Geometric Solids is an invaluable tool for children to develop their understanding of three-dimensional shapes and foster essential skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. The Montessori method, which emphasizes hands-on learning and self-directed exploration, is well-suited to the use of these materials.
Suppose you are interested in providing your child with a Montessori education that utilizes materials such as Montessori Geometric Solids. In that case, Montessori Academy is a year-round preschool that follows the Montessori method. With locations in Culver City and West Adams, we provide a nurturing and supportive environment for children to learn and grow.
To learn more about Montessori Academy and our approach to education, please contact us at (310) 215-3388 for Culver City and (323) 795-0200 for West Adams. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and provide you with information on our programs and enrollment.