I have always had passion for the endless wonders of early childhood activities and have been on a journey to create even more creative teaching resources for my children and also my students. Investing in cool and value for money resources during my working days also helped me teach my own children phase by phase as they grew. I bought resources beyond their age level to ensure i was prepared when the time came. This early investment came in extremely handy as i eventually embarked on the journey of a stay-home-parent. Staying home means i cannot spend on teaching resources/materials like how i used to when i was still drawing a paycheck.
Likewise for clothing. During the sales periods especially for branded clothing; i will buy bigger sized clothing for the children on top of the ones they can wear immediately. Hahaa! KS me…
There are many school of thought when it comes to early childhood programmes and i personally find there is merit in each individual methodology. Parents and children alike can benefit from a bit of everything. The learning journey shouldn’t be a rigid process in my opinion. It should evolve with the phases of time and generation. Many here by now should know my ultimate passion is working with the Montessori Methodology for i have tried, tested and seen them work immensely on children young and older. Allowing pace is one of its strengths and given sufficient headstart with this methodology, children can learn about everything under the sun and be adequately ready not only for Primary education but also for life, for Montessori is a holistic methodology.
I’ve shared many on teaching phonics at home using purchased materials and also DIY ones. This time, i will be sharing on Early Math concepts… yes… using the Montessori Method of course.
Having to stay home with my girls just meant i had to think out of the box to create materials for them to work with like hands-on materials and personalised worksheets for their different age group. This will ensure that though i am teaching one same concept, both of them could work with me at the same time without disrupting one another’s activity. Worksheet difficulty will have to vary as well. Being an owlette since school days had been to my advantage as i use my nights to make materials & worksheets plus plan my lessons for my children & students.
I’m very pro-foundation, meaning i really encourage the very basic understanding of concepts first when it comes to teaching my children anything. It’s like….. we cannot ask a child to walk before they even know or can crawl, right? Similar for mathematical concepts, it is important that we can influence children and share with them the joys of learning math and involve them in the process of learning those concepts in our daily go-abouts. It is possible to make math really fun…. errr… for now, by that, i mean….. preschool age. Kekeke..
In the Montessori Method, we use what we call The Number Rods to introduce the basic concept of counting 1 to 10. Here we also first introduce the names of the numbers and introducing the number sequence and help children understand the value of each number via various activities/exercises using The Number Rods. They are wooden rods varying in length from 1 decimeter to 1 metre, each alternately coloured in red and blue. This is how it looks like.
Here’s how we start off our introduction to our young Montessorians… Using the 3-period lesson, similar to the one i shared in the Montessori Phonics thread, we show (introduce the material)… we ask… we conclude. Here’s a step by step so it’s clearer.
"Today, we’re going to work with this material called the Number Rods."
"This is one."
"This is how we count, one…"
*Gently slide two fingers (pointer and tall man) across the rod, from left to right.* Then repeat yourself by saying, "One." Invite the child to try. "Would you like to try?" After which, put the material away/aside. We usually do not force upon the child to work with the material if they’re reluctant. Come back to it another day when the child is more ready.
"This is two."
"This is how we count two…"
From left, point to each coloured part & count. "One…"
*Gently slide two fingers across the rod, from left to right.*
Repeat the count by saying, "Two."
Then, invite your child to work on the material. "Would you like to try?"
After which, put the material away/aside. Continue with the next rod in similar fashion.
"This is three."
"This is how we count, three."
"One…" "Two…" "Three…"
Similarly, gently slide the two fingers across the rod from left to right and then look at the child and say / conclude the counting, "Three." That ends The 1st Period of the 3-Period Lesson. In the 2nd Period, we are to look out / observe that the child understood the 1st Period by showing or pointing to the correct material / rod… at random… as requested.
"Can you show me three?"
"Now, can you show me, one?"
"Which is two?"
Finally, conclude the presentation/introduction of the lesson.
"Today, we have learnt… one…"
… two … and
… three ."
Arrange each rod to form a stair… and conclude that he/she is free to work on the material again when he/she feels like it and request that he/she help you keep the material on the shelf, so that he/she will know where to get it from should he/she wants to work with it.
Come back to the same lesson again to check back if the child has mastered that introduction before moving on to the remaining rods. Run through the similar three period lesson with all the other rods as well until you have fnished the tenth rod.
The objectives of this activity/lesson are to introduce the number names (1-10), to introduce the value of (1-10), counting in sequence, counting in fixed quantity (etc) just to name a few. As the child progresses to more rods, they will realize that with each rod they count it gets longer and the longer the rod… the value of the number increases. After which there are a few variations or extended activities to link the rod and number cards as well which i will share later on.
As we already know… Montessori materials are expensive to purchase… hence, in order to make Montessori approach available in your home with DIY materials, here’s sharing how to make your own Number Rods. This DIY segment i dedicate to soomum who have been a faithful Montessori follower of mine who is always keen to learn more about Montessori to teach her daughter at home. As a SAHP myself, i would like to use this opportunity to help others who are keen to bring Montessori education into their homes.
First, you’d need two big pieces of hard cardboard paper. The one i have here cost between $1.70 to $2.00 @ Popular Bookstore ala carte from the shelves.
Use the same ruler throughout, for equal measurements of all the rods.
For each rod you want to make, you would need to line the cardboard with five lines across.
For the alternate coloured portions here, i measure the length of each around 5cm long.
After the 5 lines are done cut the paper.
Cut the coloured portions according to the height of the 5 lines you’ve cut. To stick, i’ve used double sided tape behind all the red portions i have cut.
Fold along the lines front and back.
Measure 5cm again to stick the coloured portions alternately.
See below how i finished up with this rod. It is hard enough for home use with own child(ren).
The finished product!
Doesn’t it look the same?
Well….. almost i suppose.
Good enough for home use larr..
I managed to do up more rods and frankly it looks cool to me.
If the 3D version is too time-consuming for you to do up, you can also do the 2D version.
I used scrap cardboard (from the back of the stack of drawing block papers) for mine. 😉
Happy teaching and happy learning.. I’m still learning (AND exploring) too… catch up again soon.