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From Concrete to Abstract

Montessori teaching is built on the key belief that a child masters concepts when they are first taught concretely and then abstractly. This movement from the concrete to abstract is essential for a student to truly grasp their work.

In mainstream schooling, students’ learning is usually forced to jump from the concrete to the abstract too early. This interrupts a child’s formulation of the concept and leads to an incomplete foundation for the child to build upon. This usually causes learning to look more like memorization and less like true understanding.

In our Montessori classroom, lessons are presented in a simple and concrete way for younger students and then reintroduced in the years to come, each time increasing the complexity of the concept and reaching for more abstract ideas. The transition between the simple and complex will take place at different rates for each child—and that is okay! The important thing is for the educational foundation to be laid.

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