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March 04, 2023

Introducing Quantity While Using Montessori at Home

One of my absolute favorite parts about Montessori education is the maths curriculum. From preschool through elementary, Montessori math is pure genius. Learning about Montessori math has deepened my own understanding of mathematical concepts which is so cool. And, as I've learned, it's been very cool to use Montessori to introduce numbers and quantity to my own children. 

Right now, it's Teddy's turn to learn. At nearly 3.5, his interest in numbers, quantity, and counting has exploded recently. And since he hasn't started school, I have the pleasure of introducing numbers here in our Montessori home. But a lot of work has led to this moment. Here's a quick look at how we have introduced quantity in our home. 

Montessori toddler stands at table counting small blue coins

Montessori Toddlers and Introducing Quantity 

I've separated quantity and numbers because they are very different things. Quantity, or number sense, is learning to recognize the relationships between amounts. While numbers are the symbolic representations of those quantities.

Some early number sense concepts that I introduce to my Montessori toddler include:
  • counting one to one - actually physically counting (how many are there actually) and what order the numbers go
  • recognizing is a group of things a little or a lot
  • is a group big or is it small 
  • order of sequences - what comes first, next, then last 

3-year-old sits at table in Montessori home using sandpaper numerals and silicone numbers

Like all things in Montessori, when learning about quantity we want to start concrete and move to the abstract. It is done by naturally counting things in the environment, it is done by using descriptive language, and it is done through work.

Naturally Counting

This is just counting things as you need/see/use during your daily life. "We need two eggs. One. Two" Or, "We have a big pile of socks here. One, two, three, four, five! Five socks!" I don't particularly need to plan or seek out opportunities for this kind of work. It just sort of happens from the time they are really little and continues into toddlerhood. Count when and where you can. The one thing I avoid is just counting for counting's sake. So never just counting without connecting to the concrete act of counting something. 

Descriptive Language

Use language that includes quantity - things like "bigger, more, less, little, first." This again is just using things concretely has they come up in the environment. "Hand me the biggest stick from that pile." "Wow, you have a lot of pretzels." 


Then, occasionally we also have some more quantity focused work on our shelves. One-to-one correspondence transferring work is always popular. Other work can include sorting small objects by size. Toys that explore relationship in size or order like this DIY, counting rings, or this tree.

Montessori parenting tips for introducing quantity and number sense to your toddler. Easy ways to jump into maths work using Montessori at home

The work of learning quantity is going to continue from toddler through preschool years as children learn to understand how the world works and as they dive deeper into maths work. Introducing quantity to children can be fun, natural and easy in your Montessori home. In part 2 of this series, I'll explore numbers more specifically. 


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