Montessori Essentials~ Metal Insets

Today I am going to talk a bit about my favorite Montessori work~ the metal insets! I love this work! There is so much good that happens when the kids use them, and they are so much fun! The metal insets are metal stencil like shapes. These stencil shapes have a solid metal inset that fits like a puzzle. There are 10 different shapes: square, triangle, circle, rectangle, oval, trapezoid, pentagon, curvilinear triangle, and quatrefoil.  There is an optional frame that allows the child steady the frame as they trace the shape. I don’t have it, but it useful since it is frustrating for smaller hands to concentrate on the shape and drawing while trying to hold on to the inset too!  Now, all kids like stencils, but these are special. They are large and they are simple shapes that allow the child to really master control of a pencil. The goal of this work is to help introduce the child to master the pincher grip, to help them master pencil control, to reinforce a work cycle, and introduce geometry. Not, not only can the child trace the inside of the of the stencil, they can also hold the inset and trace the outside of the shape. This gives them a different hold on the pencil and helps them master all the different ways to use a pencil!  The other thing that is really wonderful about this work is that it is an easy one to present to a child as they are getting started with Montessori work. When Bug first started working with us she had a hard time working with a pencil, and after she spent some time working on the Cylinder blocks, she tried the insets. It took her a while, but when she finally was able to make a shape, her pride was so awesome! I love how much confidence they get when they are creating and succeeding!
 The children are encouraged to use different colors as they draw to give them a new point of interest. They trace the inset and then they practice long continuous strokes to fill the shape in with color! Now, as fun as that is, I also love to help them use the inset to draw a picture. 🙂 We made a bird out of the oval, a house out of the triangle, a cupcake out of the pentagon, etc! The possibilities are endless and it is such great preparation for drawing classes! Another really wonderful extension that Bunny has done is to make one shape, then to draw another one over the top of it, then another! This make a really interesting design as the shapes overlap.
Like I said these are some of my favorite works! I really love playing with them and so do the girls! Here are a few pictures of the girls working with the insets and some of the creations that we have come up with.

We have a ton of fun with this work! I hope that you do to. If you have other ideas or some other blog posts about the insets! Let me know and I will start a list at the end of this blog! Happy Schooling!