This week for small group math, we're working on counting up to 9. This week, we are mostly focused on counting--counting accurately, going one by one, and checking our work when we are unsure. For this activity, we've chosen to use the Montessori Spindle Counting work, which is composed of two boxes divided up into sections labeled with the numbers 0-9. Montessori math works like this one help children organize their materials, since the boxes tell the children where to put the spindles. In small groups, children took turns counting out spindles for each number. The boxes inevitably present a lesson about the number 0 as well, since there is a section for 0. As we began the children shared their ideas about the number zero. "It's nothing!" said one child, and another child held up her hand to show what zero looks like.
As the children work alongside their peers, they help and learn from each other. Many children are noticing when their friends may need help and support them by reminding them what number comes next or whether to take away/add more spindles when they don't have the right number.