April’s Montessori Principle in Action

~The Importance of Sorting~

Children have a natural desire to make sense of their world, to create order in a world that seems largely out of their control. For that reason, sorting activities often attract children. In fact, many children will start sorting things without even being taught.

Sorting is a beginning math skill. It may seem that early math skills are about learning numbers and quantities, but there’s much more to it. By sorting, children understand that things are alike, different and that they can belong and be organized into certain groups.

Maria Montessori’s sensorial work uses “sorting” in specific ways that promote use of all of the child’s senses, one at a time, in order to refine them. The goal is to train the brain to create more organized thoughts and ways of retrieving information. Montessori also recognized how much children appreciate order in their worlds (a large piece of her main philosophy) and how important it is for them to create this order independently. While the works given to the child at school are teaching them valuable skills, children don’t seem to notice what they’re learning! It is simply delightful work for them.

To sort, your child needs at least two different sets of objects. It is important that caregivers slowly demonstrate each sorting work for the child before they try it on their own. After observing what you’ve done, the child is free to try sorting on their own. In Montessori, the child’s errors are not corrected by adults, though you should observe to see if the sort will need another demonstration next time the activity is performed. To mix things up, encourage your child do some of the more tactile works blindfolded!

Ideas for items to sort by color:
-Lacing beads
-Legos

Ideas for items to sort by shape:
-Unit blocks
-Shapes cut from cardboard or paper

Ideas for items to sort by size:
-Puffballs
-Buttons

Ideas for sorting by weight:
-Fill same size containers with different quantities of liquid
-Choose objects from around the home and sort by heavy/light

Information from Peaceful Parenting http://jen-peacefulparenting.blogspot.com/

Prepared by Ms. Meredith.

To access a pdf handout of this information with photos, Click HERE.