Loading... Please wait...


The question of wooden and plastic rods


We are often asked whether we (still) supply wooden rods. 

Sometimes this comes from a sense of nostalgia, because customers used to have a wooden set when they were young and they want the same for their own children. Sometimes it is related to concerns about the environment and the use of plastic in general.

We thought it would be helpful to lay out our position at the moment.

Cuisenaire® Rods were first manufactured in our factory in Reading (a pictorial history can be found here in our celebrations of 60 years). The wood identified as most suitable for the rods was Ramin, a tropical hardwood from southeast Asia. It held the colour applied and maintained its shape and angles. This was used for many years until manufacture stopped at the Reading site and Ramin was designated a protected hardwood under CITES Appendix II because of dangerous over-exploitation. 

We started using plastic manufacturing methods in response to a demand from customers, both extrusion and injection moulding.  We eventually settled on injection moulding having experienced a wide range of quality issues with other methods.

We arrived at a position where we were achieving the quality standards we expected, an accurately cut and coloured rod. The plastic used is a high quality ABS plastic. This is long-lasting and durable. This is an important characteristic because the vast bulk of our customers are schools, who require materials to be durable, and in many cases, cleanable.

We recognise the concerns regarding plastic disposability, however we haven't produced Cuisenaire® Rods to be disposed of soon after purchase. They are designed to last a very long time. But if they need to be disposed of, they can be recycled and re-used as a raw material for further production.

We do keep our eye on developments in alternatives to this type of plastic, and regularly make enquiries regarding such alternatives, but we have yet to come across something we can use at an affordable price to us and our customers.  We work very hard to keep the quality of our Cuisenaire® Rods very high, and the cost to you as low as we can.

Now Johnny Can Do Arithmetic

We are pleased to say that we have recently taken delivery of a modern reprint of the influential book Now Johnny Can Do Arithmetic. We have updated our Starter Pack B with the new version. This does mean, however, that we have had to increase the cost accordingly. But we are including the new version [...]

Read More »

Cuisenaire® CPD Courses and Events

Inclusive Learning North are running a series of CPD courses at venues across Northern England during the Autumn Term 2018.Each attending school will get a free mini set of Cuisenaire® rods and a discount voucher towards other Cuisenaire® Company products.“The influence of maths teaching techniques in the Far East, involving the heavy use of concrete [...]

Read More »

New books, Summer reading.

We are now stocking several new books on our website.Perfect for those of you who are looking to do some research and reading this summer holiday, whilst recharging ready for the autumn term.We have added several books published by ATM which we think compliment the work of Dr C Gattegno and bring it into the [...]

Read More »

CPD Course in June 2018

We are delighted to announce that the ATM have organised a CPD course run by Helen Williams and Mike Ollerton in June 2018. Helen and Mike are two of the three authors of the ATM publication 'Cuisenaire®- from Early Years to Adult'.'This day course is a practical, hands-on workshop about using Cuisenaire® rods with learners from [...]

Read More »

"Working with Rods and Why" a new publication from ATM

We are very pleased to share another great resource from ATM which 'brings together inspirational writings on the theory of reforming maths education together with articles by primary teachers who exemplify the Cuisenaire-Gattegno approach in practice.'To download the pdf click here

Read More »

My Time with Dr. G and His overwhelming flow of creativity

The following is extracted from the book 'The Gattegno Effect' Published 2011, ISBN 978-0-87825-344-9 Copyright © 2011 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.My Time with Dr. G and his overwhelming flow of creativityby Michael J. Hollyfield (1935-2017)I first met Dr. Gattegno in June 1961, when I was 26 years old. The following year I attended a five- day [...]

Read More »

Michael Hollyfield - an appreciation

In memory of Michael John Hollyfield.

Read More »


We are delighted to stock a new publication from the ATM, looking at using Cuisenaire Rods for teaching across the age ranges.Written by teachers and practitioners immersed in the Gattegno/Cuisenaire methodology, the book provides many real -world/classroom examples of their application.Buy your copy here

Read More »

Recent Updates