Concrete to Abstract (Montessori)

From Montepedia

Concrete to Abstract is a principle in Montessori education where learning progresses from tangible, hands-on experiences to more abstract concepts.[1] The child initially interacts with concrete materials that represent an abstract idea, like size or colour. As the child develops, they are able to understand these ideas in symbolic or abstract forms.

Montessori Quotes

  • "There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in some way in the senses." [2]
  • "The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence."[3]

Research and Critiques

  • Pros: The concrete to abstract progression aligns with child development research, which suggests that tangible experiences support cognitive development and conceptual understanding.[4]
  • Cons: Some critics argue that this approach might not cater to all children, especially those who can understand abstract concepts without the need for concrete representation.[5]

Comparisons to Other Methods

Many traditional teaching methods simultaneously introduce concrete and abstract forms of an idea, which contrasts with the Montessori method's sequential progression from concrete to abstract.[6]

See Also

Glossary of Montessori Terms

The Glossary of Montessori Terms is a collection of specific terms and vocabulary that are related to the Montessori method of education, primarily focusing on the theory and practice for children aged 3 to 6. The jargon used by Montessori educators offers a unique insight into child development as discussed by Maria Montessori. The 'Montepedia Glossary of Montessori Terms' originated from a glossary that was compiled by the late Annette Haines from the Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis, at the request of Molly O'Shaughnessy from the Montessori Centre of Minnesota. The reason behind the creation of this glossary was to supplement O'Shaughnessy's lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course that took place in Tampa, Florida, in February 2001.[7] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Montessori, M. (1949). The Absorbent Mind. Clio Press.
  2. Montessori, M. (1948). To Educate the Human Potential. A. C. Fifield.
  3. Montessori, M. (1936). The Secret of Childhood. Longmans, Green and Co.
  4. Lillard, A. (2017). Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press.
  5. Egan, K. (2002). Getting it wrong from the beginning: Our progressivist inheritance from Herbert Spencer, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget. Yale University Press.
  6. Mooney, C. (2013). Theories of Childhood, Second Edition: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky. Redleaf Press.
  7. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.