Dissect the words, I tell my students: control… of… error. An error is basically a mistake. Control, in this case, is to exercise a command or to have power to direct.
Now manipulate and squish it all together… To have command or power over a mistake.
This sounds pretty powerful, right? What if I were to tell you that you have the power help your child to control an error? Even better, to help your child to become more independent and confident in being able to command the direction of his or her mistake.
Maria Montessori introduced this term in the education field for this purpose.
Control of Error:
According to American Montessori Society, the materials are designed so that the child receives instant feedback as he works, allowing him to recognize, correct, and learn from his mistakes without the assistance from an adult. Putting control of the activity in the child’s hands strengthens his self-esteem, motivation, and knowledge.
In many cases, especially in the youngest classroom, it’s picture, shape, or color matching. The answer is there in front of them, but they still have to follow through with the process of finishing the work by using the assistance of the control of error. If the pictures do not match, that is the control of error. You can take it to the next step by incorporating numerous pictures… puzzles!
Since puzzles are such a healthy, brain-building material for toddlers to adults I have created a control of error for practically every puzzle I have for my students and for my own children.
Not only are they gaining skills (e.g. hand-eye coordination, fine/gross motor, shape recognition, memory, goal-setting) through using puzzles, but they are also building confidence and independence through using a control of error.
The process is simple, and all you need is a color printer/scanner. This tutorial shows you how to use the control of error with a puzzle that is for toddlers and young children. You can adapt this to any level of puzzles that will fit on the scanner of your printer.
Objective: to assist the child in gaining independence from adult assistance while putting a puzzle together.
Deeper objective: to assist the child in building independence and self-esteem without adult assistance in more challenging work such as puzzles, which also give a range of benefits that relate to math, language, and logical reasoning skills.
1. With the puzzle already pieced together, carefully set it face down on your scanner. You can wrap it with saran wrap if it comes apart easily. Scan the puzzle.
2. Once the puzzle’s picture has printed out, cute around the border if there is one. You now have a control of error for the puzzle! I have found that laminating the control of error works, but it is also a little more slippery for the youngest child. For beginners I like using the puzzles with the wooden frames, such as the Melissa and Doug rainforest jigsaw puzzle.
3. Once you have your control of error ready, you can do this lesson in a couple of ways (listed below as option A and option B) depending on the level the child is at. The Sailing Bear puzzle (option A) shows a more challenging approach: taking each piece of the puzzle apart, setting the pieces aside, then putting each piece back together using the control of error.
4. Option B is the less challenging approach. The child disassembles and matches one puzzle piece at a time.