Montessori Shape Work Book
It is immediately obvious that this book (and its partners in the series) have been designed by qualified and experienced Montessori educators.
There are so many subtle but powerful details that link the books to the 'concrete' Montessori materials that they support and that represent tenets of the Montessori philosophy.
This is true even of the titles - each book in the series focuses on a particular area of work; the 'Map Work', 'Letter Work', 'Shape Work' and 'Numbers Work'.
This follows the Montessori tradition of identifying the child's activities by the title of 'work'. This unique piece of semantics is very deliberate and powerful. It identifies that "the true work of the child is the task of building himself/herself", it helps to loan a weight and importance to any task that the child chooses (so that the adult sees that the child is not "just playing" but is engaging in that vital, valuable work of building oneself) and it helps the child to build a positive attitude and relationship with the concept of 'work'. The adult misconception that "work" is a chore, a laborious bore or something that we do because we must not because it fulfils us, is not an attitude that we should endeavour to pass on to our children. We should help the next generation, from their youngest days, to recognise that 'work' can and should be joyful and meaningful!
Each book in the series begins with a letter to the adult providing an introduction to the 'Montessori' approach to the topic. This assists the adult, whether it is a teacher or parent, to help guide the child effectively through the book. The books do, however, also promote independent exploration as the child can flip through the sturdy, 'board book' style pages to observe the attractive images, the clear text and the hidden tactile experiences on each page.
The Shape Work book is the perfect accompaniment to the Geometric Cabinet (and also fits nicely with the Constructive Triangles).
The Shape Work introduces the categories of triangles, rounds, parallelograms and polygons. Within each of these categories it introduces the following individual shapes;
Triangles: isosceles, equilateral, right-angled
Rounds: circle, oval, ellipse
Parallelograms: square, rectangle, rhombus
Polygons: pentagon, hexagon, octagon
Each individual shape is presented as the shape itself and then as a 'real-world' example.
The shapes features a tactile edge which the child can touch and trace to reinforce a 'muscular memory' of the shape.
On the initial page of each category that tactile edge is very prominent as the shape itself is actually set into the page, leaving a raised edge around the outside of the shape.
When each shape is featured as an individual the edge is a slightly different colour and with a 'shiny' feel subtly differs from the card of the page itself.
The presence of these tactile edges, for the child to trace with the fingertips, mimics the presentation of the shape pieces in the Geometric Cabinet.
The final page of the Shape Work book provides an opportunity for repetition and reflection. It features a summary of all of the shapes that have been introduced in the earlier pages.
Please note: You might notice that the cover of each book actually shows the title entirely in lowercase letters - 'shape work' rather than 'Shape Work' and so on.
This is no accident - the authors of the books are helping to demonstrate to the child that an incomplete phrase does not require capitalisation. It is not a complete sentence, or a 'proper noun', and as such neither of the words need to begin with an uppercase letter.
In our product listing we choose to use the capitalisation because that language is directed at the adult, not the child, and refers to the book as an item and therefore utilises the capitalisation of a proper noun.
I just love the attention to detail that the use of lowercase letters in the title demonstrates. It is yet more evidence of the care and thought put into these beautiful books.