If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you already know about Montessori Services, a company I’m an affiliate for. I rely on Montessori Services for many of the materials we use in our Montessori community classroom, as well as much of what we use in our home. As a small company started by a Montessori teacher, Montessori Services offers a wide range of materials, many of which are otherwise hard to find, for preparing an environment that fosters self-confidence and independence. Child-sized kitchen utensils, tools for cleaning up, or for tending to the garden, and everything you need to prepare virtually any Practical Life exercise can be found in their catalog. There’s much more to their offerings, too, including a number of carefully prepared, shelf-ready activities, like the Boards of Education, which Montessori Services recently sent for me to try out with the children in my classroom and review for all of you here.
The three Boards of Education can be ordered separately, and they vary in difficulty from the hex bolt board to the graded bolt board. Each board is made of beautiful, solid wood, with separate sections for keeping the included screwdriver, and for placing the bolts as the child removes them. The first board has six large, hexagonal bolts, and comes with an appropriately-sized hexagonal screwdriver for removing and replacing them. This is a great introduction to the bolt boards, since the screwdriver completely covers the bolt and stays in place as the child turns. The second and third boards contain slotted bolts and slotted screwdrivers, but all of the bolts in the second board are of the same size, while the bolts in the third are graded from large to small for increasing difficulty. A lip on the sides of each board makes them easy for the child to carry. Each board is a completely self-contained activity with no need for a basket, a tray, or any additional items.
In our classroom, I placed only the first board on the shelf initially, without pointing it out to the children. Nearly all of them noticed it on their own and expressed an interest in working with the material. Every child who received a presentation on that first day took the work out again on their own the following school day, so before long I added the second board and it had the same reception. The first board seemed to combine repetition with a challenging activity in a way that made for a level of concentration I had not yet seen in a couple of the children who worked with it. It was not so difficult as to be frustrating, but challenging enough that the children were driven to continue working.
During our last week of class, when I interviewed each child, one in particular named the Hex Bolt Board as his favorite work, the thing he’s best at, and the thing he’s most looking forward to doing next year. There was definitely great enthusiasm surrounding this activity, and it inspired deep concentration. Based on how much the children have loved and benefited from them so far, I suspect that the Boards of Education will have a place on our shelves for a long time to come.
Each of the three Boards of Education can be purchased individually, or you can order the complete set of three all at once. The cost for all three boards is $99, and individual boards are available for $36.95 each. All of the boards come with screws and the appropriate screwdriver, so they’re ready to place on your shelves the moment you take them out of the box. Replacement screws and screwdrivers are also available, so this work can last you for many, many years.
You can enter to win a $50 gift certificate to Montessori Services by using the rafflecopter widget below. Your gift certificate can be used to purchase your very own bolt board, or anything else in the Montessori Services catalog. Good luck!
Disclaimer: I received the Boards of Education free of charge for the purpose of this review. I also receive a commission when you shop through my affiliate links at Montessori Services or For Small Hands. I’ve been using their products myself since before I knew what an affiliate account was, so this is just a perk to help cover the costs of this blog – all opinions are truly my own. I only share products I think are relevant to you and will enrich your life as they have mine.