The Montessori Materials are carefully designed didactic apparatus that aid the child’s psychic development toward functional independence. Children who are “functionally independent” are happy, well-adjusted children that can think for themselves, do for themselves, and are disciplined enough to understand the consequences of their actions.
Dr. Montessori developed the Montessori Materials over 100 years ago. In 1907, in the first Montessori Children’s House, she began experimenting on the effective use of the materials by allowing the children to freely explore with them while she observed how they responded to them.
Because their use had proven to be so successful, today all authentic Montessori schools throughout the world still use these materials to implement the Montessori curriculum. Their educational value lies in their ability to recognize developmental aptitudes, because of their special diagnostic quality. In addition, they also are able to remediate any deficits, should any of these be identified.
The initial use of the materials by very young children eventually developed into a system that now effectively serves children from birth to adulthood. Though the materials vary in some degree throughout each stage of development, they all possess certain qualities that are unique to all Montessori materials, regardless of age.
- Control of Error: This is the “self-correcting” quality of the materials.
- Simple to Complex: The materials progress from simple to complex.
- Concrete to Abstract: The child is always given the opportunity to work with the concrete materials before she/he is presented the abstract concept.
- Indirect Preparation for Future Learning: Every piece of equipment indirectly prepares the child for future learning.
- Treatment of Materials: “How, Where, When” – Every child learns important lessons with the materials like, respecting others need not to be disturbed when working with the materials, learning how to wait for a turn with the materials, putting materials back for someone else to use, and always respectfully caring for the materials which belong to their community — all of which teach great lessons of life.