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MATH

In The Absorbent Mind, Montessori says "Articles of mathematical precision do not occur in the little one's ordinary environment.  Nature provides him with trees, flowers and animals, but not with these.  Hence, the child's mathematical tendencies may suffer from lack of opportunity (p. 186)  If concrete mathematical experiences are present to the child during the Absorbent Mind Stage, the child will incorporate within his intellect the basis for mathematical abstractions.  Montessori identified man's tendencies to calculate, reason and to abstract.  To abstract means to take out of the experience.  It is a point of arrival and not of departure.  Mathematics is a set of abstractions and it includes arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus.  They express ideas in figures and symbols.  The child experiences these concepts with materialized abstractions which are sensorial based concrete experiences that will lead the child to abstraction.  Abstraction can not be taught. It must be taken from the experience of the individual.  The young child takes in the concrete experiences through the senses and forms the structure of the intellect.  Math lessons are presented in sequential order to lead the child to abstraction.  A pattern of concrete, symbol and a combination of the concrete and the symbol is evident in the materials.  Montessori begins a new concept with a perspective of the whole and proceeds to the detailed components.  The emphasis is placed on the process of the operation rather than the product.