Montessori Golden Bead Addition, When To Introduce It?

At what age do I introduce Golden Bead operations?
This is a question I am asked often. Speaking for us and our home experience at home,  I really do not have a definitive answer. Our children were interested in numbers off and on with great excitement. While we were always talking about and using numbers in our daily living, it was during those times of heightened excitement that they were incredibly ready and eager, to work in greater detail with the Golden Beads.

I can say that both of our children had a solid base of linear counting and number recognition. They had been introduced to the Base Ten system of place value with the Golden Beads. They had spent a good deal of time creating values (choosing pre made number cards and building the values in golden beads on their place value mat), and reading the numbers. For a child who may be struggling with numbers and place value, the Golden Beads are such a fantastic tutoring tool.

There were many things we had done early on to solidify math operation concepts in our every day life such as: during baking (especially with eggs) we would add and subtract the eggs we needed and were taking away, dividing snacks, playing board games etc. The opportunities are endless.

In terms of reading numbers this again is endless in everyday living. We play many games including cards. A game I played with Ava a while back comes to mind. We were playing a game with cards, that featured different numbers/points. The majority of the numbers were from tens to hundreds. Who ever had the higher value on their card would win. Her job was to read the numbers and determine the larger or smaller value. This was fantastic practice for reading numbers.  This is also fun with a basic deck of cards. Games that number the squares are also a great opportunity for counting practice.

Of course there are also Montessori Bead Chains for linear counting practice and my guys did love doing this , but a variety of games and daily life experiences created a rich web of learning fun and interaction.

If there were any point early on where my children did not seem to readily grasp a concept is was because we had moved forward to quickly. Simply they were not ready. We would back up the truck and revisit place value (or what ever the case may have been) and continue forward at their pace and interest.

Montessori Golden Bead addition is beautiful in it's simplicity.

Ava created the first number in her addition problem, and the second below on her place value mat with a ruler to separate the sum area below. She simply pushed her beads together and counted them. Later she will be making exchanges. There are tons of tutorials for early Golden Bead math operations available online.

For our purpose in our home we have our Golden Beads set up on two trays, that are easy to carry from our shelf.  The first contains 9 thousand cubes, and the second contains hundreds squares, ten bars, and unit beads.

If you are wishing to create the 45 layout you will require 45 of each value. The 45 layout is simply a beautiful presentation of place value in golden beads from units to thousands.  The layout can be created and the beads needed for operations can be taken from the layout setup.
Many keep their golden beads on a shelf and used as a "bank" to retrieve from. I will post more about our work with this setup this later.

Acquiring enough beads to create the 45 layout (as amazing as it is) can be very expensive so perhaps this is a good place to mix some printables with a basic set of golden beads. I found it difficult to store 45 thousand cubes, and if I were to do it over again for us I would certainly do a mix of print materials with our beads.

You can make or print your own materials if you wish. When you are ready to start it's helpful to have pre made problem slips separated and ready to go! Above she is only working with static (no carrying required). Often we made our own problems, and we also recorded our work early because my kids were excited to write out numbers. Every child is different and may express no interest in recording. For children who are not writing as yet this is an amazing fun way to concretely work with numbers.

If you are purchasing Golden Beads, 
keep in mind that they do not come with any support materials. You need to add number cards, and equations for all operations, and a place value mat if you choose.

We have created an affordable complete printable package option for those who may be interested. Our materials include everything you need in one package to carry out work in all four operations.

Thanks for visiting with us!



  1. Thank you so much for commenting and letting us know! Your kind words are so greatly appreciated. Thanks again! Cherine


I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)



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