How are Montessori Toys different than the others?
When it comes to most Montessori toy and material is made from Natural wood and designed based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s acute observation of the child’s needs and wants of each particular age and its sensitive period.
Following are the main ways to identify a Montessori Toy from any wooden/plastic toy in the market.
1) Self Isolated work
Bear in mind, a child cannot multi-task. Therefore, toddler Montessori toys target only one skill at a time. This helps to simplify it for the child who is learning for the first time.
For e.g.- When colour matching in Montessori, the child will only learn how to match colours together. Most non-Montessori-inspired toys in the market will have colour matching, sounds in the background, different textures and counting, etc.
With so many things going on, the sole purpose of teaching colour match is lost and ends up confusing the child.
2) Control of Error
A Montessori toy is scientifically designed to help the child self-correct if they make a mistake. This helps them to get more confident in working independently and develops confidence in their ability to figure out their outcome without external help. A key skill beneficial later in life.
3) Natural and Real objects
Every Montessori toy is a real object with a real purpose. There is no pretend play, the knife is a real knife to cut fruits, the watering can is an actual one to help water the plants, the pouring jugs, the scooping spoons, the dustpan, and the mop are all real child-size material that the child can use to learn practical life activities.
They are also made of natural materials for the child to be as close to nature as possible. They are not just fancy-looking wooden toys, every Montessori toy has its purpose and is designed for their little hands that make deep connections through play.
4) Progression of work
A Montessori toy is progressive. The child is set up for success by presenting every step through Montessori work.
Eg- a young toddler is taught how to hold a glass jug, then how to pour it into cups, and later through a funnel. This leads to him/her independently baking (pouring milk or batter), and washing hands (pouring dirty water into the bucket to dispose of).
Small steps lead to big work. Eventually, each step makes the child feel confident to work alone and confident that she can do it! This implies in all areas of Montessori- Language, Mathematics, Sensorial, Exercise of Practical Life, etc.
5) Complete set
Toddler Montessori toys are a complete set. There is never a missing piece or a missing part of the activity. As a toddler gets frustrated or loses interest if mid-work he realizes that one part of the puzzle is missing or while cleaning up the activity the small cloth to wipe is missing.
There is a deep sense of order in a child. Montessori-inspired toys are there to aid this order and bring clarity and refinement of the child’s learning through the material and in its progression. Eg: Big to Small. Right to left.
This need and sense of order present in every child develops a spontaneous self-discipline in the child helping in their independence.