2 stories, same messages. (Part 2)
I still remember the days working with other Montessori colleagues. There was this young teacher who always reminded us of her lecturer’s words. “Always return to the insets for design if your child is having difficulties forming shapes, letters, numbers or any types of drawings, or if the child is wandering aimlessly.”
So, what did I do when I saw a complete set of metal (NOT plastic) insets of design hibernating in a box, I can’t just ignore ‘them’. Their cheers was simply too loud.
The idea behind this more-than-a-century old material is Dr. Maria Montessori. In the magazine “Understanding The Montessori Environment. Your Montessori Child” (Montessori International: London. pg.11), it stated that Montessori believed strongly in the aim of ‘indirect preparation’. She invented fun ways for children to learn how they can learn to do things themselves without realising they are actually learning to do something. The metal insets for design is a good example. This material is consisted of ten shapes and frames with straight sides in one group and curves in the other group. Children use this for drawing the shapes with colour pencils and fill the shapes with very closed lines or simply colour them with their favourite colours. This activity actually helps to form fine motor skills that indirectly prepares for writing.
To learn pencil-control skill, children use colour pencils to fill in outlines made with geometric insets in different shapes, often creating beautiful designs.( Feez, S. (2013). Montessori The Australian Story. Montessori Australia Foundation: Sydney. pg.24)
I’ve also combined finger-painting with this exercise. I think it’s a very interesting sensorial-creative-writing experience for very young children.
Finger printing is not only fun but is also a good invitation for the young inquisitive mind to explore their own fingers.
What is your experience in using the metal insets for design?
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