Baan Dek

Metal Insets

Montessori Activities

How do you use this material?

The Metal Insets are displayed on a shelf all their own. The Guide selects one of the ten insets, or shapes, and the corresponding frame, along with a square piece of paper and three colored pencils, and find an available table.

The Guide typically sits on a small stool next to the child when demonstrating how the material is used, but this time, she’ll sit in the chair at the table and the child will sit or stand next to her. This is an indication that this material is different, something is very special here. The Guide sits at a table because this material is preparing a child for handwriting, and precision and good posture are key.

First, she’ll carefully place the frame on the paper, making sure the corners are aligned, and, with one careful movement, trace the inside of the shape. She’ll pick up the frame, and admire her work.

metal inset montessori

Next, she’ll place the inset on top of the outline she’s just traced, which completely covers the outline. She’ll hold the knob with the non-dominant hand, and, again with one careful movement and using the second color, trace the outside of the shape. She’ll pick up the inset, and examine her work. Ideally, there’s a small, even space between the two lines she’s drawn. If not, what a great opportunity to demonstrate we ALL need practice and make mistakes, even adults!

Using the third color and starting at the bottom left of the shape, she’ll carefully make a slow, deliberate, continuous line from the bottom of the shape to the top, then top to bottom, moving from left to right, filling the whole shape with color.

When the whole inset is filled, she’ll admire her work, perhaps making a few observations about parts that are lovely or parts that need more practice, before transferring the work over to a child, inviting him to choose the colors or shape which appeal to him.

metal inset montessori

What is a child learning?

A child is preparing for handwriting, creating careful lines, practicing using a pencil.

What does a child not know they’re learning?

Beautiful Metal Inset work is a reflection of a high degree of self-control. It would be so easy to simply place the frame on the paper and scribble inside. This is a material for design, and preparation for handwriting is careful, purposeful work.

As he fills the inside of a quatrefoil, he’s experiencing different geometric shapes, and determining if any are more pleasing than others to him. He’s trying out different color combinations and finding favorites.

Written by:

Charlotte Wood

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