Educating the Whole Child: Mathematics
Montessori proposed that all humans are born with a “mathematical mind.” In the Montessori environment, mathematics is an integration of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry into a system in which each illuminates the other. The structure of the program follows the interests and abilities of the child’s mind.
In the primary class children are given mathematical concepts in the form of objects; the objects can be felt and moved about so that the hand is always involved in the learning process. The children are introduced to counting and mathematical processes with numbers into the thousands using concrete materials that clearly demonstrate the differences between small and large quantities.
In the elementary class, the work continues, building on materials and concepts already presented and adding new concepts such as algebraic computation, base systems, square and cube roots. The materials are intended to lead the child into more and more abstract work, until finally the materials are spontaneously discarded.
By the middle school level, most students are studying at the Algebra I level. However, the program is flexible and adaptable to meet individual students’ needs.