The metal insets are a popular work choice in the Primary classroom. If your child brings home endless examples of papers with shaky circles drawn upon them, he is 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 is for a child to acquire mastery of the hand in using a writing instrument and is direct preparation for writing.
A child learns to grip and guide his colored pencil, experiencing the effects of pressure upon the writing instrument. Also in doing this work, a child learns to use one continuous stroke with the pencil, which is helpful in preparation for cursive writing. The hand-eye coordination work here is intense for young children, and something in which they obtain much joy. The results are obvious and immediate; a child is provided visual feedback for the outline he has created, as well as for how saturated his lines are and how much pressure he has used to create this work.
Through the work of metal insets, a child learns to refine his hand control, increase fine motor skills and muscle strength, and increase concentration. In addition, the child learns about the geometric shapes, including how they look when moved and turned about. As the child progresses through this work, he will use different insets together to create different designs, introducing him to the art he will be more conscious of in the next stage of development.
“A three-year-old educated according to Montessori pedagogy, becomes a master of his hand and undertakes with a joy a variety of human activities. These activities allow him to develop the power of concentration.” (San Remo Lectures)