Let's use this little piece as an example. Seems harmless enough, doesn't it? If it came home in a your child's pocket, it might not be seem that important. Nay Nay!
This little bead on a wire is a very important part of the math area in every classroom from Primary to Upper Elementary. It can be found in the teen beads, the snake game, the bead stairs, and the bead chains, to name a few.
It is one. The number from which most counting beings Taken in context, that little red bead is very impressive and teachers notice pretty quickly when one goes missing.
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Then there are the map pieces. Some of them are very small and easily tuck into a pocket or lunchbox. For instance, this is Sierra Leone although without the puzzle map of Africa, most people (including me) would have a difficult time figuring that out.
Map pieces are very difficult to replace and some children don't like working with one that has too many missing countries.
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Then there are pieces like this. A seemingly innocuous blue plastic triangle. (I had one of the students put his hand beside it for size reference.)
It is the adjective symbol and without it, elementary students would not be able to parse sentences. (Well, they would but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.) Below is a picture of the grammar box with all the grammar symbols. Lots of little pieces to go missing.
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Some of these little pieces fall victim to a child's sense of order. For example, years ago, as I was straightening up the shelves, I discovered that the no. 1 tile was missing from the addition strip board.
I searched high and low for days and sent messages home to the parents. In the meantime, one of the six year olds made a replacement tile out of blue construction paper so he could use the material. By the end of the month, I had reconciled myself to the loss.
However, as I was making the monthly change of the art cards I found the missing piece. Some little person had decided that the blue tile belonged behind the art card in the plastic frame. Mystery solved!
So, if any bits and pieces come home with your child from Montessori school, please bring them back. You could be saving an entire country!