The Montessori science curriculum for ages three through six is based on zoology, botany, and physical science. The major works offered are the zoology and botany puzzles. For zoology there are puzzles representing reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish and mammals, the botany puzzles traditionally include the tree, leaf and flower.
The multiple purposes of these puzzles are: learning simple puzzle skills, learning the appropriate names for the parts of these things (for example the parts of the flower are; stem, corolla, stamen, pistil,and calyx). Following mastery of parts, children often move on to tracing the parts and coloring them to match the puzzle or tracing the pieces on colored paper and pin-pricking it out to glue onto paper in order to replicate the puzzle (show below with the Horse). Once a child has accomplished this, they move on to creating Parts of the ______books, and when appropriate reading labels for the parts, and finally reading definition booklets. These works are not accomplished in a short time. These steps evolve over the three years spent in an early childhood classroom, in conjunction with all of the other great skills & knowledge obtained.
I have the version of puzzles from Montessori Services at school. Children used them for eight years and they and now used primarily in our training program. When looking for puzzles for our home, I decided on this type of puzzle, but decided to spend less money and ordered them through the Montessori Deals Store on Ebay. The girls love these puzzles and Humphrey recently made this representation of the Horse.
How we made it...
I did trace the puzzle pieces for her, as they are more difficult than metal insets.
Using a giant thumbtack as her pin-pricker and felted mat, Humphrey methodically punches holes close together on the outline and then tears along the perforated line. Once all the pieces are done, we glued them onto a piece of paper and talked about the parts.