So, last week I wrote about the Montessori method and materials. I recommended a couple of books – I’ve now found Montessori’s Own Handbook (kindle) for just 36p. I can’t resist that myself quite frankly!
I also talked about making my own version of a spindle box. (The spindle box is discussed in Discovery of the Child.) Today I actually made it.
With spindles. Every bought box I’ve seen has been beautiful wood with pleasing identical wooden spindles. My box is using craft and recycled lolly sticks. I actually rather like the effect. (You provide exactly 45 – if the child goes wrong somewhere along the way they will either run out or have spindles left over. That’s the self correcting aspect of the box. Of course, they could make two mistakes that cancel each other out, but this is less likely.)
The spindle box is used to link concrete numbers of items with the abstract numbers, and reinforce the nothingness of 0. You can find the lesson in Shu-Chen Jenny Yen online montessori albums here. We’ve already had one good run through with Smallest (although we weren’t sat in a good position for me to take pictures) and it led to an excellent discussion of zero. I’ll also make a zero game (again) which is just slips of paper with numbers written on, kept in a basket or box. Then you take it in turns to pull out a number, and perform an action, like clapping, according to your number. If you get 0, that means no claps.
It’s more fun that it sounds, and can be quite hilarious Good article about the zero lesson on Muddlepuddle here.