I love all the Montessori math materials. They build sequentially on previous learning, introduce concrete learning before abstract learning, are self-correcting, and isolate the difficulty being learned. But there’s one material I find absolutely brilliant.

That material is the golden bead material. It’s used to give a concrete introduction to the decimal system and is an amazingly understandable, hands-on introduction. I wonder how many people who struggled with math would have had a much easier time if they had worked with the Montessori golden bead material.

Here’s an introduction to some of the preparations for Montessori math and early Montessori math work:

And here’s the introduction to the decimal system. Golden bead work starts with the introduction of quantity for units, tens, hundreds, and thousands:

**Here are online directions for introducing Montessori math materials:**

A free source of directions on how to use the Montessori math materials (including the golden bead materials) is the Montessori Math Album from Shu-Chen Jenny Yen’s Montessori Albums.

Info Montessori has a lot of information on using Montessori math materials.

Child and Me has links to Montessori math directions and information on making your own Montessori bead material.

Andrea Coventry has articles on Static Addition with Golden Beads in Montessori and Dynamic Addition with Golden Beads in Montessori.

**To buy golden bead material, here is a list of Montessori suppliers:**

Where to Buy Montessori Materials

Here’s a forum with a discussion about the best sources for Montessori materials.

**Here are links for making your own Montessori bead material:**

For ideas on making your own golden bead material, here are some helpful posts:

Montessori at Home has a whole series about making the complete Montessori bead material for a homeschool:

Montessori Mathematics: The Complete Bead Material – Part 1

Montessori Mathematics: The Complete Bead Material – Part 2

Montessori Mathematics: The Complete Bead Material – Part 3

Montessori Mathematics: The Complete Bead Material – Part 4

Montessori Mathematics: The Complete Bead Material – Part 5

Walk Beside Me made the Montessori bead material after reading the Montessori at Home series.

Montessori Mom has directions for making and introducing the golden bead material.

Homemade Montessori has ideas for making golden beads and other Montessori bead materials.

Homemade Montessori also made wooden number cards which could be used for the bank game and other activities with the golden beads.

Seedpod Craft Studio made Montessori bead material but decided to make it ruby rather than golden.

**UPDATES**: You’ll find links to ideas for making your own 1-9 bead bars here: DIY Bead Bars.

Making Montessori Ours has a post with a helpful idea for storing Montessori bead materials: Make a Compact Montessori Bead Cabinet.

What is your favorite Montessori math material?

Photo Credit: Photo from Montessori School of Syracuse

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*This post was part of The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home with the theme of “Maths”, which isn’t just about counting! Our bloggers have written about games, materials, memory, shapes, graphs and more. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on Maths.*

Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on “Maths.”

- Marita at Stuff With Thing writes about meal time maths with the help of our dinner table centrepiece and other food related maths fun 🙂
- AmandaB at HomeAge talks about numbers, shapes and sizes, who knew that nested building blocks could be so much more fun than just building them up and knocking them down!
- For Cass at Schooling Choices the car is one of her favorite learning tools. She thinks you could teach a child almost everything they needed to know about Math without ever leaving the car.
- Deb at Science@home let her kids raid the chocolate to measure and compare with scales and graphs.
- Backyard Safari is a right-brained person who spent a lifetime struggling with math, but comes to see the light through the wonder of nature.
- SMMART Ideas is another food learner, estimating with beans, noodles and cereal…and getting a little number writing practice in there too!
- For Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey, learning to tell the time is an important part of learning for a child, and it incorporates areas of Maths such as number recognition, counting, sequences and general numeracy.
- Narelle at A Bunch of Keys has a simple sorting activity that can be done with young children using things found around the home.
- Colin at Super Parents is writing about the discipline of maths, memory, and recall at 7 years old.
- Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now loves all the Montessori math materials. But there’s one material she says is absolutely brilliant.
- Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has a range of different mathematics activities that you can play with your children of all age groups!
- The Planning Queen at Planning With Kids has games to teach number recognition to preschoolers – so they don’t know you’re doing it!
- Julie at Works For Me Homemaking says it might surprise you to know that maths is heavily reliant on language. Here is a brief discussion of some of the “language” of maths and why children struggling with language development may find maths difficult.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you find some interesting new blogs.

SMMART ideas says

I watched the bank game video. I like the “magic slide” that verfies they’ve correctly named all the places of the large number they built. Those beads and number cards are a great resource.

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks for your comment! I always loved the bank game. There are variations in how it’s played, but it is a fun way to reinforce a child’s understanding of the decimal system.

PlanningQueen says

My eldest son went to Montessori preschool and I think his excellent grasp of maths was greatly assisted by their approach to mathematics. I am off to find some local stockists of these products and my current preschooler would just love them.

Deb Chitwood says

Thank you for your comment! I love hearing about children’s experiences with Montessori. I really haven’t heard of a better educational start than through Montesori methods, whether they’re used fully or in part.

Monique says

Gosh its so different to the normal schooling system isn’t it. I like how the golden bead system really illustrates in real size and so clearly numbers and counting.

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks, Monique! Montessori education definitely is different – I’m always amazed at its use of concrete materials to systematically introduce concepts in the clearest possible manner.

Julie says

I totally agree with using real life experiences and all the senses. Thanks for this introduction to Montessori methods.

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks for your comment, Julie! I really like how the first video shows the sensorial preparations for math work. It’s easy to forget how many indirect preparations there are for all later work.

Joy says

Hi Deb! These are from last year. We had some great color then. They are just now starting to change here and so we haven’t seen much color just yet. I am looking forward to it though! Thanks for stopping by!

Joy

Deb Chitwood says

Hi, Joy! Thanks for visiting!

Miss Carly says

I really must have a deeper look at your blog. Whilst I know some Montessori pedagogy, we are generally more focused on Reggio.

Great resource! Great post!

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks so much, Miss Carly! I really enjoyed studying Reggio Emilia during my master’s program. I know of some people who use use mainly Montessori with some Reggio added in.

Robyn says

These are excellent resources and I love the videos. I love all of the wonderful things you share! Such treasures.

Thanks so much for joining in Mingle Monday! Have a great week!

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks for your kind comment, Robyn! I hope you have a great week also!

amandab says

Such an amazing list of resources! And I love all of those learning materials and will have to get some for home. I always loved working with materials in maths, I definitely think they are of great benefit and make it so much easier to understand so many math concepts.

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks so much, Amanda! Montessori math materials are fun for people who don’t even like math. For someone like you who loves working with math materials, they should be especially fun!

H-Mama says

Such great links! I’ll be back. 🙂

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks for your kind comment! I’ll look forward to getting to know you!

Marita says

They look fantastic. I’m definitely looking them up for my girls. Thank you.

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks so much, Marita! I hope your girls enjoy them!

JDaniiel4's Mom says

I love the idea you shared. I will add it to my post with a link to you.

Deb Chitwood says

Thanks SO much!

Debra E says

I have read the Complete Bead series parts 1-5 that you reference in this article. I am new to Montessori so although the author lists our how many of each bead would need to be purchased, she does not spell out what to make with it! Can you tell me what all would need to be made? Thanks for any help as I am not real familiar with the complete bead materials.

Deb says

Hi Debra, I’m so sorry I didn’t respond to your comment sooner, but I just found it. It’s too bad the posts didn’t say exactly how many of each was being made. You could check out the Nienhuis site to see how many of each they include in their sets. For example, here’s the link to their golden bead material: http://www.nienhuis.com/mathematics/decimal-system-bead-material-1/golden-bead-material-1-2.html.

I have a more recent post with DIY Bead Bars for some of the earlier math bead work at https://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/08/08/montessori-monday-diy-bead-bars/. It really depends on how in depth you want to go with the bead materials as far as which materials you’ll need.

Montessori Primary Guide has some good information that might help you decide how in depth you’d like to go with the bead materials: http://www.infomontessori.com/mathematics/introduction.htm. I hope that helps!

Kathy says

Is there a reason that the bead material is golden? Is it imperative that it be the same color? Also, I notice that there is golden bead material, but also other bead material that is multi colored. What is the difference? For a homeschooling mom, what would be the minimal amount of bead material needed? what color? Thanks!

Deb says

Hi Kathy … I just found this! Not all Montessori bead materials are the same color. I saw a post by one homeschooler who made red bead materials. Maria Montessori just used gold for the original beads, and the traditional manufacturers use her colors. The bead bars 1-9 are each different colors as you can see in this post: https://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/08/08/montessori-monday-diy-bead-bars/. It also has links to posts with ideas for creating your own Montessori bead materials. I hope that helps!

munira says

Hello

I love your website ..it is full of amazing information 🙂 thank you for sharing

I need your permission to use the presentation for golden bead material on my face book to show to the parents of Little Feat Montessoir .May I use it ?

wishing you all the best

Regards

Munirta

Regards

Deb says

Thanks so much for your kind comment, Munira! The videos are from YouTube, so those are fine to share anywhere. Montessori School of Syracuse gave me permission to use the photo here, but I can’t give permission for it to be used somewhere else. If it’s the photo that you wanted to show, you could check with Montessori School of Syracuse or else just link to my post. The photo should be available to show simply by linking to my post. It’s great that you do parent education!

Seemi says

Hi Deb,

Did I ever tell you that the picture you have at the top of this post was taken in my class at the Montessori School of Syracuse? That dear little girl is now in high school (yikes!)

DIGICHAMPS says

Science is no longer a boring subject for me. The videos of Digichamps are realistic and the teachers are energetic which makes learning exciting. I love FUNDUCATION!

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