31 Oct 2017

Last week I taught at the internationally recognized Montessori Center of Minnesota (MCM).  The center has offered high-quality, hands-on training in Dr. Montessori's proven method of education to the world's leading Montessori teachers for more than 40 years. Located in a beautiful state-of-the-art facility in St. Paul, MN, MCM provides teacher training students from around the world with the rare opportunity to observe, practice, study and make materials in one location. One very unique feature of the training center and practice environment is a fascinating Montessori museum that walks you through Montessori's history and features many very early materials.

One of the benefits to partnering with a Montessori training center is being able to offer Montessori lessons in a prepared environment.  During our workshop, Montessori trained classroom teachers present lessons to the workshop participants and give the attendees an opportunity to ask questions and practice giving lessons.  Many people think that we need to make totally new materials or present them in a different way for adults.  Although, we do need to provide adult sized materials for adults, many of the beautiful Montessori classroom materials can be used with adults in the very same manner that they are used for children.  I especially like using the metal insets.    Metal insets are ten flat metal squares, in the center of each square there is a metal shape cut-out. Colored pencils, white paper, and a tray specifically designed to hold the paper and insets accompany the insets. This is a pre-writing activity for children, but it meets many other developmental needs as well.

When working with elders, I like to use metal insets for the following purposes:

  • Maintain and improve fine motor and hand control
  • Maintain and improve hand-eye coordination
  • Enhance attention concentration skills
  • Practice order, repetition, and memory recall
  • Develop the ability to plan and carry out artistic designs.

I have found that elders enjoy the opportunity to use metal insets to be creative and their fine motor control improves through practice tracing and coloring the shapes.    Several elders have created designs for the front of cards by overlapping the shapes and coloring each one differently.  I have also noticed that it brings a feeling of calm and relaxation to those who use this material.