What makes a toy a "Montessori" toy?
Currently known as the sensorial materials, the "didactic" or Montessori materials were initially employed in the first casa dei bambini more than 100 years ago. They support a child's ability to separate concepts such as color, warmth, taste, size, weight, and sound that are acquired through the senses. These materials are highly costly since they are designed to last for many years and be used frequently by numerous youngsters. It is preferable to introduce the right terminology, such as "hot," "cold," "warm," "tepid," and all of the other sensory labels, to youngsters in the house gradually as they go about their everyday lives.
PRACTICAL LIFE MATERIALS:
These are child-size, real tools, that reflect the work that is done in the child's own unique home and community—bathing, sweeping, setting a table, arranging flowers, woodwork, everything done in a home. They allow the child to imitate the activities of those around them. they are considered by many to be the most important materials because their use fosters a good self-image, long periods of concentration, logical thinking, good physical balance and coordination, eye-hand control, problem solving, love of work, the ability to contribute to the family, independence in caring for oneself and others and the environment, and developing good manners. In fact, all of the skills needed for academic success later, and happiness as an adult. Children want to do what they see the others in the home doing. And young adults want to stretch themselves to do what adults in their culture are doing—real work! So it is far more successful to learn to include the child in the family work, at which every stage is appropriate, than to set up activities that are not related to daily family life, and expect the child to be interested in them.
ACADEMIC SUBJECT MATERIALS:
When a child has a good foundation in awareness of senses, and some mastery of practical life work, he will be able to more easily focus on mastering areas of academic studies such as reading, writing, math, geometry, physical and life sciences, history and geography, and the arts. In Montessori classes the child is inspired by seeing others working in all areas in the classroom at one time, and he or she is offered individual lessons in all areas by the teacher, and then the child's choice is respected about what to study. In the home it is important for the child to see adults modeling a love of learning and work, reading non-fiction and good fiction, being curious, handwriting, loving their own learning. The home should have materials and books in all subjects according to the age of the child or children and they should be offered in an attitude of fun, and to satisfy curiosity and further natural interests of the student. Then the secret it to observe and discover the child's interests and give tools for further research and accomplishment.