Anyone who has been in a Montessori environment no matter how old they are and walks in a primary classroom is immediately attracted to the metal insets.
During the primary years the metal insets are a popular work choice whether you are three or five. It is one of the first lessons presented to the children and it becomes a lesson of comfort as the child grows in the environment. If your child brings home endless examples of papers with shaky circles drawn upon them, they are learning much more than how to create a design! The metal insets, which consist of ten metal frames with matching metal insets: square, triangle, circle, rectangle, oval, trapezoid, pentagon, curvilinear triangle, and quatrefoil. This lesson was created to acquire mastery of the hand in using a writing instrument and is a direct preparation for writing. A child learns to grip and guide his colored pencil, experiencing the effects of pressure upon the writing instrument. The results are obvious and immediate; a child is provided visual feedback for the outline they have created, as well as for how saturated his lines are and how much pressure they have used to create this work. Through the work of metal insets, a child learns to refine his hand control, increase fine motor skills, muscle strength, and increase concentration. An indirect purpose is working with geometric shapes, experiencing how they look when moved and turned about. As the child progresses through this work, they will use different insets together to create different designs, what starts being just a trace when they are three ends in complex amazing designs. Save them as you will see the progress of your child and enjoy it for a lifetime.