More than Just a Pretty Pink Tower
Walk into any Montessori early childhood classroom and you will at once feel the beauty of the environment impact your senses. Apart from the order, the variety, the color, and the uniqueness of the classrooms, there is an appeal within the materials that calls to you. Your senses are hooked, you want to experiment and experience them. Imagine what that appeal has to a child who is at the prime sensory learning period? One particular area of the classroom dedicated to sensorial materials is especially appealing to the young child and one piece, The Pink Tower, is front and center in its draw.
What is this famous Pink Tower that is synonymous with Montessori classrooms? You have all heard of it by now, no doubt. Books have been written about it and there is even a documentary in the making called, “Building the Pink Tower”, focusing on education reform utilizing the Montessori approach to education.
The Pink Tower hits the eye as soon as you walk into the classroom; it holds a spot like royalty on its own stand and in its own special place. It is clean and bright and well, yes, very PINK. t is a member of the sensorial family and is designed to help a child refine and educate his discriminatory sensory capabilities. The sensorial materials are fine-tuned, made to exact specifications, and call to a child’s sense of order and, ultimately, his engagement in the learning process.
The Pink Tower is composed of ten three dimensional cubes ranging in size from 1cc to 1,000 cc. The children can count the cubes 1-10, they can learn the vocabulary: the positive, comparative, and superlative of “large” and “small”. They can compare and contrast as they build and recognize that if not built in order it does not appear to be “right” or it may not stand like a tower or look like a tower. Concretely, the children are building a tower. Abstractly, they are laying the foundation for the development of mathematical thinking. Due to its precision and sequencing, it lends itself to internalizing height, volume, and area. Not only just a pretty pink tower after all!