Our friends over at Montessorium have put together some great summaries of the key activities from each of the curriculum areas.
We hope this sparks your interest even more about Montessori, you can also join us on our regular information evenings where Directress' go into much more detail about each of the areas.
Sandpaper and Coloured Globes
Preparation for all geography work typically begins with two globes: The Sandpaper Globe and the Coloured Globe.
You will see the land areas in tan sandpaper, and the water as a smooth, painted blue surface. It’s very easy to distinguish, both tactilely and visually, the land and water portions of the globe. After working with the Sandpaper Globe, the child will move on to the Coloured Globe, instead of land and water, the child will focus on the identifying continents. Following the Coloured Globe, the child will be ready for Puzzle Map work, beginning with the World Map. You’ll notice the continents on the Coloured Globe and the World Map are the same colours, giving the child that ‘aha’ moment of recognition.
The Botany Cabinet, sometimes referred to as the Leaf Cabinet in the Montessori classroom, is a child’s introduction to the world of botany, and also great practice for visual discrimination of forms.
Directly, the Botany Cabinet is a great activity for a child to develop visual discrimination. The activity relies on the child being able to distinguish one leaf shape from another.
Indirectly, the Botany Cabinet is preparation for further botany work in Primary school, including developing appropriate language and investigation of the natural world!
Starting with the map of the world and progressing through continents and then countries, the puzzle maps showcase the difference between land and water, and help to develop an appreciation for spatial awareness. How far is Asia from South America? Is South America closer to Europe, or Oceania? After the Map of the World, a child might engage with Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, North America, or Africa. These continent maps include pegged pieces to represent every country on that continent. After taking the pieces out and putting them back together, a natural control of error occurs if the pieces don’t all fit correctly! The pegs also help to refine a child’s fine motor control, and will make the transition to holding a pencil that much smoother.
Land & Water Forms
The Land and Water Forms introduce wonderful new vocabulary and geographical concepts to the young child. The Land and Water Forms are plastic trays that help a child recognise and name different land formations and types of bodies of water they may encounter in life. As a child carefully pours water into the form, the water pools in the centre. A teacher might explain that a strait is a narrow passage of water, with land on either side. The child is able to easily discriminate the difference between land and water, and is now able to name this type of water form: “It’s a strait!” Other forms included in the material are island, lake, peninsula, gulf, and isthmus.