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What are Montessori toys? Where did they originate?

Montessori toys

Montessori toys are named after an Italian physician, Maria Montessori. She observed children's learning their interactions with their environment. This led to the development of the Montessori learning method.

The Montessori learning method stresses the importance of independent learning. Children are viewed as eager learners who seek knowledge and possess a natural curiosity about the world they live in. Traditional measurements of achievement and success, such as test scores, are an approach that contradicts the Montessori method. 

This is because these methods lack the open-endedness that Montessori learning requires. They don't encourage exploration and discovery or lead to the development of the imagination. Unlike with tests and conventional learning, there is no 'right or wrong' answer with Montessori learning. A tower can be constructed in a variety of ways.

Montessori toys

With the above learning method in mind, Montessori toys have emerged, with the goal of helping children discover the world they live in. Montessori toys encourage a myriad of practical skills, such as problem solving and memory retention. They also equip children with the skills they need to excel at mathematics, language and science. 

Montessori toys are phenomenal for encouraging imagination because they do not blur the lines between reality and make believe. A child under the age of 5, can not differentiate between reality and imagination. A green lion toy will inhibit imagination by leading the child to believe that green lions exist, thus, inhibiting imagination. Toys that mimic reality and encourage problem solving allows the child's imagination to develop in an organic manner. 

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