The basic tower whether you have the pink one or the natural one like ours, is nowhere near as simple as I had thought it would be.
The reason I decided to go down the Montessori route was because Heleyna showed such a strong kinesthetic learning style. Since the first lot of items have arrived however, it has become clear that it isn’t just Heleyna who needs to learn with some hands on work. All three of the younger ones are using the equipment and Ronan has found it useful when working through Life of Fred Honey.
There are a number of exercises with the Pink Tower and eventually I want to get the brown stair for the extensions. The adult should begin with presenting the item to the child and demonstrating a way to use it. I have done this by making the exercises as pink squares on paper (pink squares from Helpful Garden). I found copying the exercises quite difficult at times (FMS causes vis/spacial problems anyway).
Heleyna is slowly learning to see the patterns and repeat them with the blocks. In this she is building her visual spacial awareness and learning some subtle things about size, before we start measuring the cubes.
She also built the tower with the hollow parts outward and blew up and down listening to the change in sound from small to large cubes. She also loves the smell of the wood, so this is a truly multisensory piece of equipment.
That leaves me with another question; how much Montessori stuff should I be making and how much do I need to buy?
You see, the equipment really does have a multi-sensory element to them, and back in the day I worked with children with shortened life expectancy and with children with autism, the place of multisensory objects was very important.
If I make everything out of paper, or even play-doh, what will the children lose out on?
I think the balance is in buying some stuff, making some stuff and using other stuff to be similar. It’s a balance between cost in money, cost in time (and my meagre energy levels) and cost in educational experience for the children.
The real thing is demonstrated HERE.
With the paper/card version Heleyna was able to make the shapes and understood the words triangle, equilateral triangle or as we called it “EEEK a lateral triangle!” It’s a memory aid, honest.
She made the rhombus and trapezium and used the correct words.
Then she took the attribute blocks we usually use for her Critical Thinking work and used the equilateral triangles there to make a hexagon and to compare sizes of triangle.