"We cannot create observers simply by saying 'observe!', but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses." Dr Maria Montessori
I love stumbling across a treasure that provides a perfect modern interpretation of a classic Montessori material!
The Montessori Sensorial Curriculum includes lessons in comparing, matching and sequencing weights.
These gorgeous wooden weights are the ideal resource for these experiences. It contains six pairs of triangular prisms of varying weights that can be matched and sequenced. The number six is in good company, as it corresponds to other official Montessori classroom materials such as the six pairs present in the Sound Cylinders!
The triangular face of each prism measures approximately 6cm across the base by 6cm tall (from base to tip of the triangle). The length of the prism is approximately 5cm. This makes each individual piece the perfect size for little hands!
The Weights showcase the elegant simplicity of beautiful, unpainted wood. The only pops of colour come from the subtle, colour-coded icons printed on the underside of each piece. These are the perfect Montessori feature as they provide an opportunity for self-correction. The adult can present the pieces with the coloured icons hidden on the bottom, and the plain side of the prism facing up, so that the child can initially match the pairs simply by feeling the weight. This ensures that there is isolation of purpose (an important Montessori characteristic) as the child will be focusing only on the physical sensation of weight rather than being distracted by the visual feature of colours.
The coloured icons not only self-correct the pairs of weights but also help to self-correct the sequence of weight. The coloured icons on the lightest prisms are the smallest, while the icons on the heaviest prisms are largest.
I also find myself tickled by the fact that these coloured icons look like silhouettes of the Montessori Knobbed Cylinders! It seems like a sign that these are simply meant to be in a Montessori environment!
To scaffold the experience for younger children the adult can initially present only the two most contrasting prisms (the lightest and heaviest). This offers a more striking comparison for a child to explore. It also facilitates a '3 Period Lesson' where the adult can introduce the language of light and heavy.
As the child's confidence with the material grows the adult can ensure that all pieces are provided so that the child can sort, sequence and match. The adult can also provide the more detailed language to describe these impressions, such as 'lighter', 'heavier', 'lightest' and 'heaviest'.
The manufacturer recommends this materials for ages 3 and up.
The Weight Matching set is by the well-known brand Goki, which is renowned for its use of natural materials and its focus on delivering developmentally engaging and educational resources.