What is the Montessori way of teaching colors?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

The Montessori method of teaching colors involves a systematic approach that begins with the isolation of the concept of color itself. This is done using a material known as the Color Tablets. The purpose of this material is to allow children to focus solely on the visual aspect of color without any other distractions.

The Color Tablets consist of a set of wooden tablets, each in a different shade of a single color. The tablets are presented to the child one at a time, and the child is invited to explore the different shades by touching and feeling them. The child is then encouraged to match the tablets to a corresponding color card, which serves as a control of error.

By using the Color Tablets, children are able to develop a clear understanding of the variations in color intensity and the concept of different shades. They learn to discriminate between colors based on their visual properties and to develop an appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the color spectrum.

Once the concept of color has been internalized, children are introduced to the names of colors. This is typically done through language activities, such as matching objects of the same color or playing color recognition games. The emphasis at this stage is on developing vocabulary and associating color names with their corresponding visual representations.

As children become more proficient in recognizing and naming colors, they are then challenged to further refine their understanding by classifying colors based on their intensity. This is done by introducing the concept of light and dark colors and encouraging children to order the Color Tablets from darkest to lightest. This activity helps children develop a sense of visual discrimination and the ability to make comparative judgments about color.

Throughout the process of teaching colors, the Montessori approach emphasizes hands-on exploration and experiential learning. Children are encouraged to actively engage with the materials and to use their senses to develop a deep and meaningful understanding of color. The use of concrete materials and manipulatives helps to make the learning experience tangible and interactive, allowing children to develop a strong foundation in color concepts.

In my personal experience as a Montessori educator, I have witnessed the effectiveness of this approach in teaching colors to young children. The use of the Color Tablets provides a concrete and engaging way for children to explore and understand the concept of color. By starting with the isolation of color and gradually adding complexity, children are able to build a solid understanding of colors and their properties. This approach not only fosters a love for learning but also develops important cognitive and perceptual skills that will serve children well in their future academic endeavors.