The child builds a triangle using nine different bead bars ranging in length from 1 to 9 beads.

The Short Bead Stair

The Short Bead Stair

Roberta Frosolini


The child is introduced to the bead material.


  • Reinforce the quantities 1–9
  • Prepare for additions using the bead bars
  • Prepare for the concept of counting




  • Set of coloured Bead Bars, threaded on wire, ranging from 1 to 9 beads
  • Small felt mat (plain colour)
  • Container: box/small basket


Numbers 1 to 9; names of the colours

Control of Error

Visual: The shape of the triangle formed by the beads


“Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.” —Maria Montessori in The Absorbent Mind

Perform this individual exercise at the table. Lay out the felt mat and invite the child to count the beads on each bar, starting with the one Bead Bar from the Short Bead Stair. Lay the bars into a triangle as you build this shape.

When the triangle is complete, show the child the shape made. Her visual memory may help her to self correct when she builds the stair.

Replace the coloured bead bars in your container and invite the child to have a turn.