The purpose of the knobbed cylinders is to allow the child to visually analyze and discriminate the cylinders and place them in its corresponding place. There are 4 sets of cylinder blocks that a child may choose from: Block A varies in height and diameter, Block B varies in diameter, Block C varies in height and diameter, and Block C‘ varies in height. If a child places a cylinder in an incorrect place, the child will automatically know because they cylinder will be too big to fit or too small that it will not fill up the void. This control of error is so that the child is able to self-correct on their own, building their self-confidence to become more independent.
This work is displayed in our sensorial area shelves. The lessons that are in sensorial typically have very little vocabulary, the reason for this is so that the child is able to fully concentrate on every single movement that the teacher does.
The teacher would present the lesson by:
- Having the child bring the block to their table and sit down.
- The teacher would sit next to the child’s dominant side.
- With a pincer grasp, the teacher would pull out the first cylinder on the block from the far left.
- Carefully, the teacher would randomly place the cylinder behind the block.
- Repeating these steps, until the block is empty, the cylinders should be aligned at random in a line directly behind the block.
- Beginning from the far left, the teacher would grab the cylinder and carefully begin to scan each hole, from left to right, to see where that specific cylinder would fit.
- These steps would be repeated until the block is completed.
The reason why the Montessori method insists in doing things from left to right is so that the child gets in the habit of seeing things from left to right; making it easier for them to start reading. The entire Montessori classroom is set up from left to right. All of the work that is placed on the shelves are set up by levels of difficulty; the easiest work would be placed on the left, and as the level of difficulty rises, it would be placed next to it on its right – we call this the concept of continuum.