The Montessori Method – Specialized Materials that Stimulate Learning

In a Montessori environment, children will be sorting, stacking, and manipulating all kinds of beautiful objects made of a variety of materials and unique textures.

Many of the materials found in Montessori environments seek to teach lessons especially important for young learners, like how to tie a bow or fasten buttons. Learning tools can be used for exploratory activities like sorting.

Montessori materials are uniquely designed to:

  • Appeal to all five senses.
  • Encourage children to use their abilities to look, taste, touch, smell, and listen.
  • Offer a variety of experiences and textures including smooth polished wood, enameled metal, wicker, and fabric.
  • Includes items from nature such as seashells, fossils and birds’ nests.

For example, many classrooms have sound cylinders filled with different materials — sand, rice, beans. Children are encouraged to close their eyes and sort the cylinders based on sound. Which has the softest sound? Which is the loudest? These sound cylinders, like other materials in the Montessori classroom, can be adapted to a variety of lessons. A student might explore them on his or her own, the teacher might give a lesson around these materials, or a student might work with other children to sort and classify the sounds.

More in this series:

12 Ways Montessori Schools Are Different From Traditional Schools