In 1896 she was the 3rd woman in Italian history to graduate in medicine. Educator, pedagogist and child neuropsychiatrist, Maria Montessori is internationally recognized for the educational method that takes her name. The Montessori method is a complex educational system, structured on the basis of the needs and skills of minors, from 0 to 18 years. To understand what the Montessori game is, first of all you need to know the principles on which her entire educational method is based. Independence, freedom of choice, awareness, a sense of responsibility and respect for the child’s physical, psychological and social development are the most important. According to the famous pedagogist “education begins from birth” and it is for this reason thata good deal of his research is about gaming.
What is the Montessori Game
Maria Montessori argued that “the child’s play and work”. With this phrase she did not intend to reduce gambling to a compulsory activity. Indeed, with this sentence, you really understand what the Montessori game is. For the child , play is an extremely serious and important thing. During the game the child learns to know the world, to develop his own self, to build relationships, to explore colors, shapes and materials. The Montessori game is a set of activities that suggest to the child new opportunities for knowledge of the reality that surrounds him, contributing to his intellectual growth.
How the Montessori Game works
Now that we understand what the Montessori game is, we need to understand how to propose it to the child. According to the Montessori method, the spaces in which the child lives should be built to be fully explored by the child. High chairs, tables, shelves and games should be constructed in such a way as to allow the child to choose in absolute freedom and safety which game to play at any time. One of the suggestions that we can easily adopt in any home is the use of trays.We can store them on low shelves and, on each of them, we can put the materials necessary for an activity. In this way we will educate the child to choose, to carefully move the selected object on the table to start the game and above all to put it away before moving on to another activity.
Some examples of Montessori Game
When we ask ourselves what the Montessori game is we must understand that, rather than specific objects, we are talking about methods and techniques that can be easily replicated even at home, using natural materials and everyday objects. What is really essential is to trigger curiosity and concentration. These 2 attitudes are favored by very simple games, attractive from an aesthetic point of view and with a very specific purpose. The choice of surfaces, textures and colors is very important. Each Montessori game must have characteristics that cannot be misunderstood and that develop one skill at a time.
To give a practical example, let’s talk about the Pink Tower (pink because it was studied in this color by Maria Montessori). This game allows the child, in a completely intuitive way, to work on the concept of decimal scale. It consists of 10 stackable cubes so as to form a tower. Precisely because the goal is to work on the construction, the cubes are all the same color.
- The decanting
Children, even the smallest ones, really like the game of decanting. Arrange 2 identical bowls on a tray and fill one with nuts or raw pasta. Offer the child a ladle and let him explore all the tools he has at his disposal. The child will freely choose whether to use the ladle, use his hands or pour the contents of one bowl directly into the other.
- Separate by color
Hand him 3 colored jars, perhaps choosing the 3 primary colors. Now offer him a pile of sticks that you have previously painted with the established colors. The child, after having observed them carefully, will have to divide them and group them by color.