One of the differences between Montessori kindergarten and traditional public schools is that traditionally educated students are still learning to count up to 10 when they begin kindergarten but have already mastered counting on their fingers in Montessori preschool. In Montessori kindergarten, children are already moving away from sorting and simple counting and should be on the path to using operands and performing some abstract math processes such as working with time and money.
Recognizing Larger Numbers
When a Montessori student begins kindergarten, he has already learned to count fingers and toes and is ready to learn the concept of counting and recognizing larger numbers. During their kindergarten classes, they will discover that counting becomes repetitive after reaching hallmark numbers such as 10, 100, and even 1000.
In kindergarten, children learn to compare 2-dimensional shapes, describe the differences between objects with multiple shapes, and more. Prior to kindergarten, mastering geometric shapes of differing side sizes is difficult for several reasons, but primarily because children have not yet mastered the fine motor skills necessary to turn shapes they see into drawings they can identify.
Time and Money
Hours and minutes, dollars and cents. These are important math concepts that every child needs to learn. Learning to count coins and dollars is fairly straightforward, but time can be confusing. Time is even more confusing because the standards used vary according to the duration: 60 seconds and minutes, 12 and 24 for days, 7 for weeks, and 12 for months, plus the irregularity of months themselves.
Addition and Subtraction
In truth, most children are well on their way to understanding simple addition and subtraction by the time they reach kindergarten, but they will refine those skills in their Montessori kindergarten classes. Working with numbers larger than 10 will become more common, and some children will be doing math on numbers above a hundred by the end of the year.
Introducing Multiplication and Division
Learning multiplication and division in conjunction with learning about larger numbers is a logical educational path. “I have 5 fingers on 2 hands, thus 2 times 5 is 10,” is a milestone in itself, because it conveys the relationship between multiplication and determining an unknown value.
Math becomes more complex at each new level of education, but many concepts can be taught concurrently to illustrate their relation and simplify the use of operands. Your kindergarten student may not be ready to calculate volume in a bucket during kindergarten, but they will absorb the critical thinking skills, vocabulary, and other tools needed for more advanced processes during kindergarten and into their early elementary years.