How Color Tablets are Used in Montessori?

From an early age, young children are drawn to colorful things present in their environment. They love to touch them and find them visually appealing. This is why Maria Montessori’s method of education is all about letting the child observe the environment around them and learn from it.

Color tablets are a sensorial material that is used in Montessori classrooms. These color tablets appear in a box and are used to teach children about different colors as well as different shades of the same color. The color tablets are used to instill the concept of color organization in a child and also provide them with the freedom to make whatever colorful creation they choose to use the tablets. 

To understand what color tablets are and how they are used in Montessori classrooms, continue reading below to find out:

Montessori Color Tablets
Montessori Color Tablets from WoodenToysForYou on Etsy

What is the chromatic sense?

To get a better idea about color tablets, you first have to understand why they are used in Montessori education. Color tablets instill or help refine the chromatic sense in children. This sense helps the child differentiate between different colors and their gradients.

Chromatic sense is all about colors. To help develop it, the Montessori directress introduces the primary colors initially, then moves on to secondary colors, and then finally to tertiary colors. And, for this purpose, they seek the help of color tablets.

What are color tablets?

In a Montessori environment, the Montessori directress encourages the children to develop a chromatic sense through different materials and activities. One of such materials is color tablets. These color tablets come in a box and each compartment has color tablets that are different in color from the rest of them. So, one compartment has blue color tablets, the other one has red, and so on.

The Montessori color tablets are rectangular-shaped small pieces. They all are exactly the same shape and size. However, all of the tablets have a unique shade. In Montessori, the rule of the thumb is that to teach a concept, everything else is kept constant except the main concept. So, the color of each tablet is different from one another, whereas, their shape and size remain the same.

How are color tablets used in Montessori education?

In a Montessori classroom, the Montessori directress moves from primary colors to secondary, and then finally to tertiary colors. They encourage the students to learn, match and name the different colors. Other than this, they also teach the children and make them sufficient to grade all the colors according to their gradient.

How does a Montessori directress teach using color tablets?

For the color tablets activity, the Montessori directress asks the child to help bring the material over from the shelf. She does this by telling the child about the color tablets and pointing them out on the shelf. After this, she asks the child to sit next to her and perform the activity. Here is how she does this:

  • Carefully bring out the blue, red, and yellow color tablets from the box by holding the handles on the side so that the tablets won’t get dirty.
  • Take out one color tablet from the red section and tell the child the name of the color.
  • Place other tablets such as blue, yellow, and another red tablet across from it and tell the child that you are looking for another tablet just like the one you picked out earlier.
  • Once the child identifies the right color. Then, move on to yellow color tablet and so on.
Montessori Wooden Color Tablets
Montessori Color Tablets Box 1 from WoodenToysforYou on Etsy

Why are color tablets important for children?

Colors play a significant role in everyone’s life. A child from a young age starts observing the colors around him and associates them with different objects, such as a red apple, blue sky, white clouds, etc. The ability to recognize colors is crucial to the child’s development as it helps refine their descriptive language skills. This, in turn, makes way for clear communication and understanding.

Color tablets were designed for the same purpose, that is, to help the sense of color discrimination in children regardless of the object. These color tablets are used to teach the kids the names of the colors as well as provide them with an understanding of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

Besides this, children are also learning to practice their fine motor control and self-control because they are trying to hold the tablets from the handles present on them.

Montessori Color Tablets Box
Montessori Color Tablets from Adena Montessori on Amazon

Can you make color tablets at home?

You can easily make color tablets at home if you have time and the material required to accomplish this task. However, making color tablets requires precision, so you have to be mindful that every tablet has to be identical to one another with the only difference being in  the color.

Here are some items that you can utilize to make color tablets:

  • wood pieces and paint samples
  • Jenga blocks and poster paints
  • ice-cream sticks and paint samples
  • clothespins and paint samples
  • plastic embroidery bobbins and origami paper

Other than this, there are many printable, inexpensive color cards that you can simply print out to make your own color tablets.

At what age are color tablets introduced to children?

Color tablets are introduced to children at the age of 2 ½ years old. At this level, kids are taught the most basic of colors, known as primary colors. The first color box is introduced to them at this stage. This box contains a total of six tablets; pairs of red, yellow, and blue. All the other tablets in the box are of the same size and shape, all that sets them apart from one another is their contrasting color.

To perform this exercise, the children are asked to match the tablets and learn their names. This activity is suitable for the youngest of the students in the class. As the children’s concepts become clearer, you can increase the difficulty level by gradually increasing the number of colors. The children should be able to know and match 11 different colors.

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Stacy Jones

When I became a foster mother, I started researching different parenting and education ideas. Learning about the Montessori Method has been intriguing and fascinating, and I have enjoyed watching the little ones in my life learn and grow from incorporating Montessori elements into our family's lifestyle. Montessori For Today was started to provide answers to my own questions, which will hopefully become a great resource for others to learn about the Montessori Method, Montessori Schools, and how you can incorporate elements of Montessori into your own home and lifestyle.

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