Montessori Mathematics: Geometry

January 09, 2018


Happy New Year everyone! At our Elementary Open House this past November, our staff presented different areas of learning as experienced at WMA. Lower Elementary directress Ms. Elena walked us through geometry in the elementary Montessori program. I want to share the great points she touched on that evening:

Geometry is the branch of mathematics concerned with questions of shapes, size, relative positions of figures, and the properties of space. It is one of the oldest studies in the human existence. The beginnings of Geometry can be traced back to ancient Egypt, from around 3000 BC. The meaning of the term “geometry” has its roots in the Greek words “ge” or “geo” meaning earth or land, and “metria” meaning to measure or measurement. So, early Geometry was all about measuring the earth to determine boundaries and ownership.

As with many curricular areas, Geometry in the Montessori classroom is quite different than it is in traditional education. In true Montessori fashion, the study travels from simple to complex, through the use of beautifully designed materials, like Triangle Boxes, Geometry Cabinet, Geometric Solids, etc. These materials lead to understanding the formulas for calculating areas and volumes or learning the advanced terminology and concepts like congruence, similarity, equivalence.

Learning Geometry should be fun! Shapes are all around us and we use the concepts of Geometry every day, without realizing it! Introducing the concepts of Geometry step-by-step helps the child acquire a firm grasp of these concepts as well as the special kind of enjoyment of exploration and discovery that comes naturally when we measure the earth and everything on it. 


From Preschool all the way through the Elementary program, the Montessori math curriculum includes a lot of geometry. Dr. Montessori designed the study of shapes to be wondrous and intriguing. Children are drawn to the work through the specially designed materials and the stories of the great founders of mathematics.

It is a delight as a teacher to watch students become excited about measuring items and finding out area and volume of the things around them. They love to use the big mathematics formulas and understand how to manipulate them when needed. To remind you of a few:

Area of Rectangle = Length x Width
Area of Triangle = Base x Height ÷ 2
Area of Circle = π x
Circumference = Diameter x π
Pythagorean Theorem (Area of Right Angle Triangle): a²+b²=

Students feel so proud of this big work and love to use Pythagorean Theorem at a young age with the knowledge that it is really work done in high school.


The best part is opening the child’s eyes to the geometry that is all around them. They are excited when they suddenly recognize stars in the flower shapes or cylinders in the tree trunks and stems of plants, and the ovoids, ellipsoids and spheres that are all around us. This encourages a greater connection to nature that is a cornerstone in the Montessori experience.


Thank you, Ms. Elena, for the reminding me of why this topic is one of my favourite subjects to teach.

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