Blog Archive

This post contains links to products on Amazon. If you purchase items through these links, I receive a small percentage of every sale.

Learning the Montessori Way: Numbers & Counting

Maria Montessori was brilliant in how she went about teaching children numbers and counting.  Her ability to break down tasks into smaller steps and concepts, in order to help children master all the necessary skills is astounding.  

Learning the Montessori Way is truly the best way!

But for some, especially homeschooling parents who may not have professional Montessori training, navigating the sequence of lessons and materials can be daunting.

Here is a guide to help caregivers and educators navigate the Montessori numbers and counting curriculum.

Learning the Montessori Way: Numbers and Counting

What you see here is a basic outline and explanation of learning numbers and counting the Montessori way.  

I share the order of materials introduced for the first time, but I do not give much information about variations etc.  With each material I've provided a resource for the presentation and lesson.  

Technically the concept of quantity starts with Montessori sensorial materials, but for the purpose of this post, I'm focusing on Montessori math materials.

Learning the Montessori Way: Numbers and Counting

Numerical Rods

Montessori Numerical Rods

Children begin their math journey using the Montessori Numerical Rods.  

The Montessori Primary Guide offers an explanation and break down of the presentation of the material and several different ways to use it.   Notice how the rods are NOT numbered. Written numerals are not introduced at this stage of learning. 

You will see how Montessori introduces written numerals, and then integrates them with the numerical rods later on.  Each step in the process builds upon previously learned material. 

If you're wondering if this material is worth the investment, be sure to check out all the other ways we use this material in our post, Montessori Sensorial Materials: Number Rods and Red Rods.

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Number Rods and Red Rods

There are so many different ways to use the Montessori math materials in this post!

Sandpaper Numbers

Montessori Sandpaper Numbers

Once children have mastered the numerical rods, they move on to Montessori Sandpaper Numbers.  It is at this point that children learn the signs that represent each of the numbers they have learned to count through quantity.  

Carrots Are Orange has a post with pictures demonstrating how the sandpaper numbers are presented, with some other fabulous ideas as well.
Montessori Numerical Rods

After children can identify each of their numbers and count them, the Montessori Numerical Rods with number tiles are introduced.  If using the small set, numbers are provided with it.  When using the large set, the sandpaper numbers were great.

Mama's Happy Hive provides pictures and descriptions of activities that can be done using the numerical rod with number tiles.  Also included in the post is a basic overview of the sensorial materials that are introduced before children begin the process of learning counting and numbers along with some fabulous counting activity ideas.

Spindle Boxes

Montessori Spindle Boxes

The Montessori Spindle Box With 45 Spindles is next in line.  This activity is the first to introduce individual quantities while counting.  

Montessori Primary Guide provides a video and step by step instructions for the presentation and lesson of this work.  

Natural Beach Living shares a DIY option of this material, if you can't afford the real deal.  

Numbers and Counters

Montessori Numbers and Counters

Montessori Cards & Counters follow the spindle boxes.  

Carrots are Orange shares pictures of the presentation and directions about the lesson and extensions. 

For a DIY version of the material with more information about the activity visit Planting Peas.  

Once the basic presentation and lesson have taken place with an understanding of what's expected, there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating thematic versions of this activity using all sorts of materials.  

Colored Bead Stair

Montessori Colored Bead Stair

The introduction to the Coloured Bead Stair may just be my favorite part of teaching counting and numbers.  

Planting Peas shares how this material is used with resources.   

Montessori-inspired Math Activities with Free Printables

If you'd like to see how we use these bead when teaching numbers be sure to check out our Math Activities Using Bead Bars with Free Printables on the blog!

This is one of the most versatile materials that I have encountered for teaching numbers.

Teens and Tens Boards

Montessori Teens and Tens Boards

Montessori Teens and Tens Boards are introduced next.  The Montessori Primary Guide gives basic instructions on the material, presentation, and lesson for the Teens Board.  

For instructions on how to create a DIY version of the Teens Board, visit The Kavanaugh Report.  

Carrots Are Orange provides all the information you need to use the tens board, including pictures to help along the way.  

For more DIY ideas and instruction visit Living Montessori Now.

The Montessori Bead Bars for Teen Board with Box will be necessary to purchase to progress with work using the Teens Board.  

When using the Tens Board, you will want to be sure to have Montessori 45 Golden Bead Bars of Ten to complete the work.

Introduction to Decimal Quantity

Montessori Introduction to Decimal Quantity

There is some flexibility in the Montessori Introduction to Decimal Quantity with Tray.  

Some teachers introduce it before the Teens and Tens Boards. Others introduce it after.  There are some who introduce it at the same time.  Choose whatever works for you.  

Golden Bead Material

Montessori Golden Bead Material

Once you do start working with the gold bead material, you progress to creating numbers all the way up to 9,999.  The kiddos love this! 

You can find an explanation of the introduction to the decimal system at Carrots Are Orange.  

For further ideas and resources, visit Planting Peas.  

If you're looking for printables that can be used with the Montessori bead material, be sure to grab my Montessori Bead Bar Bundle!

Montessori Math Bead Bar Bundle in Print

If you have questions about how to use this fantastic bundle, no worries, be sure to check out How to Use the Math Bead Bar Bundle post on the blog!

How to Use the Math Bead Bar Bundle

This is such a fabulous resource that has been used in so many ways in our classroom!

Hundred Board

Montessori Hundred Board

The Montessori Hundred Board is yet another material in the Montessori curriculum that teaches counting.  

Planting Peas provides a basic explanation of the work.  

Buggy and Buddy offers more ideas.  

To further work with numbers, consider ideas at The Pinay Homeschooler.  The Hundred Board is a perfect way to transition to skip counting etc.

Materials shared today are those used to teach basic counting and number skills.  

Though introduced to teach these simple concepts, the materials can be used in several different ways as your child progresses through the math curriculum learning how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, etc.  

If you're considering teaching your children math using the Montessori method, these materials should be top priority on your list of items to purchase.  They really do make that much of a difference.

For those looking for more numbers and counting resources, as well as other Montessori learning tips, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

If you're looking for more ideas and resources to help your children learn the Montessori way, be sure to check out the resources below!

  9 Ways to Practice Multiplication Facts Skip Counting and Multiplication Bundle Learning the Montessori Way: Multiplication Math Bead Bar Play Dough Mats Alternative Montessori Number and Counting Materials  Learning the Montessori Way: Letters and Sounds
Learning numbers and counting the Montessori way


  1. What a wonderful resource :) Love it!

  2. Wonderful job! You and Sunshine will love the Montessori preschool math curriculum!

  3. Great ideas, I always have Montessori items on my wishlist... now I have more! ;-)


  5. Can't choose what to begin with! Such a useful list!

  6. I love this introduction of math materials. Amazing job renae!

  7. This is helpful to see the progression of the Montessori math materials. Thank you for putting this together!

  8. Yes! It is a fabulous introduction to the math scheme in Montessori. So clearly and eloquently described here. Wonderful post, Renae, and I always love hearing about your kiddos here and there in the post.

  9. This is very helpful thank you so much for putting this together