The Cylinder Blocks Activity
What’s at work with the cylinder blocks? Let’s find out.
First, we’ll describe the process.
As a child navigates through the classroom, they’re completely free to choose any activity that interests them, in so far as they’ve already received a presentation of the material. Once selected, they’ll find any empty table, or take out a floor mat on which to work. In this case, the boy above selected a table.
Second, we’ll describe the material.
There are four variations of the cylinder blocks activity, each with various dimensions in size. You’ll also notice that the activity is made entirely of wood. The purpose of the activity is to help children differentiate between sizes: large and small, tall and short, thick and thin, etc.
Third, we’ll describe the benefits.
With each and every Montessori activity there are multiple layers. Cylinder blocks are a perfect example. The child selected the activity, took it to the table, and started to work on his tactile and visual discrimination. He’s also, as you’ll see, working on his fine motor skills: which is preparation for writing!
Fourth, we’ll describe the methodology.
One of the reasons that Montessori is so powerful is that there is a philosophy behind the pedagogy. In this activity, the famous “control of error” method is employed. If the child places the cylinder in the incorrect spot, the material itself responds and alerts them to the correct placement.
Fifth, we’ll describe the independence.
The most important component to this entire equation is independence. The boy selected an activity that inspired him, an activity that he wanted to work with. He wasn’t told by a teacher which activity to choose. He chose it and thus wanted to work with it.
Additionally, there isn’t a teacher looming over his shoulder waiting to offer a judgement, whether positive or negative. There’s just a boy, his material, and the sense of accomplishment and confidence that he achieves upon completion. Without a doubt, the independence that is fostered in Montessori schools offers one of the single greatest advantages to this approach to education.
Written by:Baan Dek