How to keep it original
In the past years, I have been trying to figure out why some Montessori schools have fallen so far behind. Reading and math results can lag by two or three years…or more!
One of the culprits has been the gradual creep of inauthentic material. In a mistaken bid to cut costs, some schools buy cheap non-Montessori things.
The morale of the story: Just because a factory makes it, the school should not buy it.
Montessori classrooms use two types of mats:
Medium green floor mats to provide contrast for the colors of the equipment. They also provide a good work surface. You can also just work on a floor.
Dark green mats for table work. These are only needed when material will slide around.
You can buy 100% wool felt to DIY it.
If you see another “Montessori mat” for sale, it is not authentic. There is a proliferation of useless “Montessori” stuff out there, but the “math mats” are quite bad because they diminish the value of the work to the child.
In the photo below, you can see how the child has creatively placed the bead chain in space between furniture. This is how it is supposed to be done. There are NO math mats.
Bead work is especially important because children need to work intensively with their hands as they use the various bead materials for math.
For the golden bead work, children arrange the beads themselves. Do NOT use mats. This detracts from the child’s experience.
It is easy for parents at home to recreate an authentic Montessori experience. Just keep it minimal.