Yes, there is a unique approach to Montessori Geography!
There are two main geography pieces within the Montessori Early Childhood classroom: physical geography & political geography (also know as culture).
Begin with physical and then introduce political.
Montessori Geography Overview
When introducing geography to a child, I witnessed a lovely lesson using the tops of nesting boxes to depict the child’s place in the great, big universe. The largest box top was the universe ending with the smallest top representing the child.
Montessori Geography Sequence
From there, move to the Sandpaper Globe: “This is how we see the earth from the sky. This is land. This is water.” Here is a great Youtube video on how to give a Sandpaper Globe lesson. We don't have sandpaper globes yet but I have introduced my son to geography. Typically, the World Map is introduced within the context of “political geography” after you’ve done work with landforms and climates. As I mentioned, I introduced the World Map after a few simple lessons on Land, Air & Water. We are working simultaneously on land form models and our World Continent Map. I will share our work with you as we move through it.
Montessori Geography Lesson
Here is how Montessori introduces the World Map: “We live on Earth. The Earth is a Sphere.” I used our Cross-Section Earth Model and our Inflatable Earth Globe. Then say: “We also use maps to show us places on Earth but maps are flat. They are not spheres. It is easier to use maps if they are flat. To make a map, we basically flatten a globe. I will show you with this Earth. It is a sphere now but watch as I open the valve and let the air out. Now we flatten the globe.” I pushed out all the air and flattened it on the ground and pointed out the continents. Then, I pulled out the World Puzzle Map.
To introduce the World Map, us your dominant hand and using a 3 finger grip, grasp the knob and lift North America from the puzzle: “This is North America, where we live.” Place the inset down in front of the frame. Trace the frame with my index finger. Then pick up the inset and trace the outline with my index finger. Finally, place the inset gently back into the frame. Do this for all the continent pieces. Occasionally refer back to the flattened globe. I took the opportunity to introduce the Control Map too. I demonstrated how to match the pieces.
Montessori Geography Extensions
There are a number of Montessori early childhood geography extensions with the continent map introducing language and fine motor skill work that I will share with you over the next few weeks.
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