The Montessori Math Small Bead Frame is often neglected in Early Childhood classrooms. The Montessori Small Bead Frame comes at the end of the Place Value and Decimal System lessons, and, as noted by Dr. Montessori, marks the entrance into abstraction. Many classrooms do not get to the lesson for one reason or another. The lesson is meant for older children (5 1/2 and up) so that explains the dust a bit.
Additionally, like my son’s teacher, some teachers find the Montessori Small Bead Frame confusing to children. I personally really like the Small Bead Frame. I like how the colors remind us of the place values, and I appreciate how children need to move their fingers as they are thinking, counting, and performing math operations. I particularly find the exchanging portion of the lesson effective with truly ingraining the concepts of place value into children’s minds.
The goal of the lesson is to reinforce lessons a child has had on the four operations, bring more clarity to the ideas of place value, and to show the relationship between those values in the decimal system.
Montessori Math Small Bead Frame
Presentation I: Introduction to the Small Bead Frame
Invite the child to learn how to use the bead frame. Gather the small bead frame and the presentation tray of the golden beads.
Count the beads as you slide them to the right. Use your right index finger. Encourage the child to count the beads with you.
Count “one hundred, two hundred, three hundred…”
Continue with the thousand cube.
Name a quantity of units and ask the child to form it on the bead frame. Continue with tens, hundreds and thousands. Include numerals with zeros.