Children in a Montessori environment gain a physical impression of size and quantity long before they begin to work with numbers. This is first introduced to them in the Practical Life and Sensorial area, when they learn about weight, length, size, heavier than and lighter than. The children work with a wide variety of activities and materials. Firstly they are introduced to activities such as the Sand Paper Numerals, Number Rods, Spindle Box and Numerals and Counters.
Montessori mathematics materials help to develop the ability to discriminate and to recognise a pattern or series. The child learns to recognise similarities and differences in pairing activities. They also learn how to grade in size, shape and colour later on.
Many of the Montessori materials are in a series of ten, for example the pink tower and the broad stairs, this is the base for our decimal system which they will need. Children learn about algebra by working with the Binomial Cube and geometry by using the Geometric cabinet, they also learn the concept of weight when they work with the baric tablets.
Whilst working with the Montessori mathematics materials children learn a huge amount of language, they learn the correct terminology for mathematics such as Cube instead of block. Often children learn mathematical skills without even realising that they are actually learning. It is only later on in life that the knowledge that has been stored in their unconscious mind becomes real when they are ready to use it.