What in the World are Metal Insects?

The Metal Insets material ready for working.

If you are a parent of a Children’s House student then you may have heard of a work called Metal Insets — sometimes mispronounced as “Metal Insects” – and were curious about this iconic Montessori material. You could understand if they were called “Metal Insects” because it would be easy to believe that a Montessori kindergartner would be studying Entomology, but Metal Insets sounds more like mechanical engineering. Read on to learn more about this intriguing Montessori material.

One of the unique pieces to the Montessori educational model is the foundation that is laid at the very young age groups. The materials build upon one another in a specific sequence that allows for students to take in information when developmentally appropriate and addresses the need for order, independence, concentration and coordination.

Shapes prepare students for future lessons in geometry.

A perfect example of this is the Metal Insets which are a material predominately found in Children’s House and Lower Elementary classrooms. The lesson prepares the hand for writing. There are 7 different presentations of Metal Insets that increase with difficulty starting with the simple tracing of shapes to the gradation, design and superimposition of shapes and colors. This work has an indirect focus on the development of the mind. The material itself controls the errors and assist the aims of the lesson.

  • The progression of muscular control in preparation for letter formation
  • The material aids in controlling the movement of the pencil
  • The outline/shading is done sequentially up and down and left to right
  • The insert provides a reference to draw an outline; the shading helps control the pressure of the hand
  • The 11 step lesson for Metal Insets indirectly allows for the practice of concentration, order, repetition and memory recall
  • The shapes and colors lay the foundation for future work in Geometry

The variety of colors invites independent creativity and sensorial integration.
Montessori materials are designed to be inviting and Metal Insets are no exception.