The Montessori Geography curriculum is two-fold: physical and cultural. Physical geography discusses the formation of the universe, the creation of the earth, and all its physical properties. Cultural geography is the study of human society and culture. The two together show the child that we are all members of the human race who must co-exist peacefully in order to survive.
There are many ways to teach young children Geography. Start by introducing the seven continents to your child. The most effective way to do this is by using a world map, a globe or a puzzle map. I invested on Montessori Apparatus – Globe of the Continents and Continents Puzzle Map for our Geography Studies.
Globe of the Continents
It is a wooden base globe that holds the globe at a 23 degree angle, the same as the Earth’s axis, in relation to the sun. With this globe the concept of the continents is presented to the child, which leads to work with the puzzle maps.
Continents Puzzle Map
The wooden Montessori continent puzzle is beautiful, but they aren’t very practical for a homeschool. Still, it’s very helpful…. I am very impressed with the quality of this puzzle. It is very well-constructed, all the pieces fit in perfectly, and the colors are vibrant. If you can’t find an inexpensive world/continent puzzle, you can always print out an inexpensive but attractive control map like the ones from Montessori Print Shop.
My little one took few days to recognise the seven continents and he is an expert now.. !
Montessori encourages the use of objects when studying geography (hand-on) experiences. They stimulate a child’s interest and imagination and I think continent boxes are a great way to organise geography materials, and make it fun and easy to study each continent. I have had “create continent boxes” on my to-do list for over a year! Finally I managed to get the project started!! i have no real plan with this project, it is just a fun way to expose my son to cultures, countries, and world geography in general. The continent boxes are works in progress, I even have a wishlist of books and things I want to add to this and other boxes! This is really exciting as I know my son is going to really thrive with his exploration. We will use these boxes for years and years!
Some of our boxes have more items then others. I am just putting stuff in as I come across it, adding a bit at a time hoping that the boxes will grow bigger and bigger. I will continue to add items and crafts as we study the continents. For now, I have my continent boxes set up like this :-
Antarctica is a tough continent because there is so little that lives there.
Some Tips for your Continent Boxes:-
- I recommend starting with your own continent.
- Find a creative way to demonstrate land mass size to your kids. I use measuring cups !!
Use Google images to print images/cards. I have made all the cards by using Google images. It was very time consuming, but a little more budget friendly.
You could choose to study each continent for a week or a month, depending on how many materials you have and how in-depth you want to take the study. We took about two months to study the seven continents.This is something that can be repeated as your child grows older, so you don’t need to have an extensive amount of materials to begin with, especially for a young child. You could just start with a simple introduction of a few materials for each continent this year.
I love the Continent Boxes so much and I really think it is a special part of my Montessori Classroom! I hope you feel inspired to bring the world to the kids in your life!
I think that the boxes look pretty good, but I do view them all as an on going project. I figure that we can add to them as we go. However, finding things from each continent can be difficult !! so GOOD LUCK!
If you make regular trips to the library, you should plan ahead and get books that supplement the curriculum. The books don’t have to be aimed at preschoolers. You can get books aimed at elementary age children. Read only portions you think your child will understand and discuss the pictures. Buying a childrens’ first atlas, such as the Collins First World Atlas may also be helpful.
Books that we use :-
- Collin My First Atlas
- Collins My First Book of Flags
- World Atlas for Children
- Mini Atlas/A Unique Table Mat
Asian Geographic Junior
We also subscribed to Asian Geographic Junior (This magazine subscription was a gift by his beloved grandfather….)This is the only magazine that features Asia, the worlds largest continent. It is very good for children especially aged 4 and above as they will be exposed to a colorful and specific culture, exciting wildlife endemic to the region and also changing trends that are shaping Asia.
Art – Shaving Cream Earth
This is a very quick and easy shaving cream activity to do with your kids.
First, spread shaving cream all over a paper plate. Next, squirt some poster paint or food colouring on the shaving cream. My boy decided to use only one colour (Green).
Use a spoon, pospsicles stick or toothpick to swirl (but not too much) to create a marbled effect. We did not use any of these since I preferred him to use his hands to encourage sensory play. Your earth shaving cream is ready!!
ANIMALS OF THE CONTINENTS
I introduced the animals of each continent to Rayes using Montessori 3-part cards. Once he was pretty familiar with the animals of each continent, I brought out the Montessori 3-part cards. I printed out two sets of each card and cut out the animals and word labels and challenged him to match them to the picture.
We also brought out all our plastic animals and he enjoyed sorting those onto the continents map as well
Sing the Countries of the world song with your children…
The Counties of the World Song – ASIA
The Countries of the World Song – EUROPE
The Countries of the World Song- Africa
The Countries of the World Song – The Americas
The Countries of the World Song – Oceania