I am so excited that Tyler has his first true Montessori material, The Pink Tower! Though he is only 20 mos old, with all of the stacking that he does and the observations of him using so much thought and self-correction while stacking, I felt that this may be the next step to take to follow his lead and passions. I love that about Montessori. It's not about the recommended age on a box, it's about whatever a child is ready for, whenever, be it, for example, starting reading at age three or age five. Trusting that the child will show what they're ready for through your careful observation equals the child developing a true love for learning, not pushing concepts before they're ready or truly willing!
I purchased The Pink Tower from Kohburg Montessori Academy here, on Amazon. I had shopped around quite a bit and this seemed to be a great price without paying the astronomical shipping costs that Montessori suppliers are famous for. I was impressed that the blocks are solid wood, that each block came wrapped individually, at that there was an instruction booklet which briefly described how to present the material, as well as giving an extension activity. My only complaint is that some of the paint has already chipped on a couple corners from the blocks falling onto the floor when Tyler knocks them down (which he isn't "supposed" to do which I get more into later).
For those unfamiliar with The Pink Tower, it is made up of 10 pink wooden cubes ranging from 1 cm³ to 10 cm³. It is a sensorial work which encourages a child to visually notice a difference in height, length and width.
To demonstrate, I was to first take one small block and one large, and ask Tyler which was the big block. Well, as I kinda figured, as soon as Tyler saw the blocks, all he wanted to do was stack them and with a fierceness! I was able to stop him for a moment to take the other blocks from the box and lay them horizontally on the rug, which was to be the second presentation step.
The next step was to build the tower up, vertically, then take it down and lay the blocks back on the rug. I didn't get the opportunity to do this. On the other hand, Tyler did it perfectly, without any instruction. Taking each block down the line, one by one, building the tower quickly and correctly. It seemed instinctual to him.
Tyler was so happy with building the tower and had a great sense of satisfaction when he completed it. He then knocked the tower over with his hand. When I introduce the work again, I will demonstrate how to correctly take the tower down, block by block. I assume this is going to take several demonstrations! The next several times, I lay the blocks horizontally for him and each time he went down the line and built correctly and enthusiastically.
I then decided to step back, and with the blocks randomly on the rug, see what he did. He always finished the tower, and typically the first few and last blocks were correct, though as expected, there were a few errors in between. Typically you would only complete the demonstration one time, then demonstrate the next time the materials were introduced if needed, but I did demonstrate numerous times as I didn't want Tyler to associate The Pink Tower with just stacking as he wished like his other blocks. I felt he was too young to "get it" in one shot. Many more demonstrations will likely be needed before this goes on the shelf.
Several times I observed Tyler self-correcting. At first he would attempt to put a block that was too large on a too small block and it wouldn't work. After that, he would have an incorrect block in hand, and before attempting to place it, would realize that it wouldn't work, then would remove the smaller block to fix the error so he could complete the tower.
Well, this isn't going to work is it?!
A set of starter Montessori cylinders (five widths/dimensions rather than ten) I ordered should be arriving this week, along with a couple other Montessori-ish items. The three-width cylinders that I made him are too easy now, so I'm really excited to see him take on the next level with true materials!