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Montessori in a Minute: Sandpaper Numerals

Young children crave sensorial work and tactile experiences when learning at school or home. From birth to age two, children are absorbing as much information as possible from the world around them, much of this through their senses. Soaking up information through vision, sound, smell, hearing and taste helps infants, toddlers and preschoolers make meaningful connections that shape their brain for the rest of their lives.


By age three, many students have built a larger vocabulary to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. But, they often need a significant component to communicate these things well: the ability to quantify with numbers. Our school’s Toddler, Bridge Primary and Primary classes introduce the Sandpaper Numerals to children aged 2 to 5..


What Are the Sandpaper Numerals?

The Sandpaper Numerals are a boxed set of 10 smooth, green, wooden cards with the numbers 0 through 9 impressed in sandpaper. Teachers model for students by taking out a card and tracing the number, with two fingers—the index and middle finger—held closely together, while saying the name of the numeral out loud. By tracing the number with a unique tactile feel and saying the number’s word out loud, children develop muscular memory in preparation for future writing as they learn their numbers.


Eventually, children learn to combine numbers and use the zero to create and understand numbers like 10, 20, 30, and beyond. Finally, after mastery of the Sandpaper Numerals, children can more easily link each symbol to the physical quantities it represents.


The Montessori in a Minute Series

Montessori schools have at least five key areas of learning in the Montessori environment: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture. Montessori schools like Hudson Montessori School utilize specially designed tools, like those found in the Mathematics section, to promote experiential and sensorial learning that students can repeatedly practice at each age level. Often, these tools are self-correcting, allowing the child to check their work and adjust accordingly.


This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of Montessori philosophy, its fundamental materials, and areas of the classroom. For all parents at Hudson Montessori School, the school hosts Parent Education Nights to learn all about the Montessori method and how the students learn curriculum components using a Montessori framework.


Hudson Montessori School's uses an interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, fostering the love for learning by using the Montessori philosophy and methodology. The school’s STEAM program is nationally-certified by the National Institute for STEM Education. Our school serves children aged 2 to eighth grade, contact us to learn more about us and our admissions process.




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