There are few materials more synonymous with a Montessori education than the Pink Tower. This iconic stack of wooden blocks comes from an area called Sensorial, which is unique to the first plane of development (ages 6 and under). Traditional Montessori materials can be shrouded in mystery for those new to Montessori. Why would people pay so much for a simple stack of wooden blocks? Isn't this the same as the cardboard stacker from Target?
The Montessori Method was approached from the perspective of a doctor and scientist. It was developed via research and an astute attention to detail. It's no wonder that the materials hold an impressive level of nuance. What may appear on the surface as a fancy toy is actually a learning manipulative that has been refined over decades.
While the sensorial area holds a number of cleverly crafted pieces, I am going to focus specifically on the Pink Tower. I will use that example as a way to describe the various aspects that make Montessori Materials far more than a pile of wood. However, all sensorial materials possess these qualities.
Serves a Specific Purpose
Each Montessori material has a key concept that it demonstrates to the child. The Pink Tower focuses on a child's ability to discern size visually.
Since a young child may not understand what to focus on, all other distracting features of the Pink Tower have been removed. The only discernible difference from one cube to the next is the size. Each piece is uniform in shape and color.
Control of Error
Internalizing Key Concepts
The Pink Tower has exactly ten blocks by design. This was intentional and is intended to give the child an unconscious awareness of the decimal system or base ten.
The sensorial materials are also used to enhance language. During work with the Pink Tower, a child will be exposed to terms such as larger than, smaller than, small, smaller, and smallest. This gives the child a chance to not only experience through the senses but name the experience as well.
Extends Into Other Materials
Most of the sensorial materials are made with an exceptional level of precision. This is partly done so that all the materials work together in harmony. The Pink Tower and Brown Stair are identical in two dimensions and can be combined for extensions. The Pink Tower also lines up with the Decanomial Square which shows the mathematical relationship of the cubes. This demonstrates multiplication in a profound way. While a young child may not understand all the particulars, the visual image will be there to call upon as the child's work progresses.
While the materials are fantastic, it's critical that you take a few steps first before unboxing the Pink Tower and setting it in front of your child.
3 - Don't Overextend Yourself
Follow me on Facebook - Visit me at Montessori Homeschooling
This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori series. I am honored to take part in it. Please visit the links below. There are fantastic posts on Montessori Sensorial topics.