Learning Series – Spotlight on “The Pink Tower”

An activity that prepares children for Math, Language, and Writing simultaneously!

Greetings from Springdale Academy to all parents! Whether you are already a part of the Springdale Academy family, prospective parents, or just curious about how kids learn concepts at the school, the learning series is our way of sharing how students at Springdale Academy, the best Montessori pre-school in New Jersey, learn through sensory play. Springdale Academy’s Montessori materials boost fine motor skills, cognitive abilities, and social skills in children.

Upon entering a classroom at Springdale Academy, “The Pink Tower” in the sensory area would certainly catch your attention. Although the pink tower may look like just a stack of pink blocks, it is so much more than that.

It was created by Dr. Maria Montessori herself and is one of the most recognizable Montessori materials. It is usually the first sensory material your child works with upon enrolling in Springdale Academy’s Montessori Program. Dr. Montessori believed that children are naturally curious and eager to learn, so the role of the educator is to provide a safe environment that promotes exploration and discovery, and working with sensorial materials enables the child to refine their senses, i.e., have a clear understanding of what they see, feel, touch, and smell.

Introducing the Pink Tower Activity for Sensorial Development

In Montessori education, the Pink Tower forms a fundamental part of the curriculum. It helps children ages 2-3 with visual and size discrimination and the classification of objects based on size. It also enhances their coordination and concentration.
The Pink Tower consists of ten wooden cubes that increase in size by one cubic centimeter per block. An easier way to say that the largest cube is 10 cm on each side while the smallest is 1 cm. Cubes are supposed to be placed on top of one another based on their size.
The reason the cubes in the Pink Tower are all the same color, shape, and texture is so that the child can focus solely on the size of the cubes. Isolating the concept is a common theme in Springdale Academy’s Montessori classrooms, as it helps children learn without distractions.

Pink Tower Montessori Purpose

Not only does the Pink Tower help children gain a sense of sequence, but it also introduces the decimal system. In addition, it acts as a pre-precursor to algebra. Of course, we don’t discuss this with small children, but handling and stacking the pink cubes teaches the child concepts of volume and the third power (cube).

Pink Tower Presentation

Starting with the largest cube, the child carries each cube individually. The cubes are held by the child’s dominant hand’s fingertips while the other hand supports the base. The reason behind this is that it allows them to get a better sense of the weight and size of each cube. At the same time, it helps with their gross motor development.

Following this, Springdale Academy’s Montessori teacher constructs the Pink Tower vertically. This is done by picking up the largest cube with the dominant hand’s fingertips and proceeding with the rest. Once the tower is complete, the cubes are randomized again. Next, the child is offered a turn to explore the cubes and build the tower on their own.

Once the activity is over, the cubes are returned to the shelf in the same manner they were brought to the workplace: individually, starting with the largest cube, holding them with the dominant hand’s fingertips while supporting the base with the other hand. By using their fingertips, the child develops muscle memory about sizes and prepares them for holding pencils.

Children learning to build the Pink Tower will make mistakes. That’s perfectly okay because the control of error for this activity is the child’s own observation. By letting them see for themselves that the tower they have built doesn’t look like it did before, they will want to correct it themselves. Thus, the child should not be interrupted or corrected during the activity. As children practice and develop their hand-eye coordination, they learn to do the activity with increased precision. This reinforces their self-control, independence, and confidence.

Once the child masters building the tower vertically, they are invited to build it in other variations to bring out their creativity and innovation. As an extension to the Pink Tower activity, at Springdale Academy, we encourage our students to use it in conjunction with the Brown Stairs (Montessori Sensory Material). By doing so, they refine their sensory perception and discrimination of size, dimension, and spatial relationships. What is difference between Pink Tower and Brown Stairs?

But why PINK?

This was quite a long read, but we hope it was worthwhile. Pink Tower is an iconic Montessori “sensory learning” material that has existed for over a century. It deserves its fair share of the limelight. Oh, one question parents ask about the Pink Tower is, “Why pink?” The answer is simple. During her research, Dr. Montessori observed that children were more enamored of pink than of other colors.

For more information, contact the school or request a tour. Check out our previous entries on “Learning Series #1: Sandpaper Letters & Movable Alphabet” along with “Learning Series #2: Knobbed Cylinders.” If you are looking for an introduction to sensory learning and play, glance at this and head over to Springdale Academy, located at 133 Stryker Lane, Hillsborough, New Jersey or our sister school Springdale Montessori.

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