Geography

South America Flag Work

To continue our study of South America, the children will have a chance to match various flag cards.  This is a work all of the children can successfully do without assistance after the initial presentation.

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Another extension to this work that can be completed is making their own flag book.  Given a blank page, a child can use a ruler, pencil and some crayons to create as many flags as they wish.  This child started with one, wanted to do another, then another and today finished a book.  She put on a purple cover and was very excited to take it home.  This is a work usually completed by older children or those with highly developed  fine motor skills.

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Each year, the child’s knowledge about a certain continent will expand with more variations and extensions.

Land and Water Forms- Cape and Bay

As a continuation of our land and water form studies, we introduced cape and bay this week.  The children are given a lesson with water and our forms.  They fill up the pitcher and pour it into a form while receiving the definition and a three period lesson.  “A cape is a point of land projecting into a body of water.” “A bay is and area of water surrounded by land on three sides.”

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Along with the concrete experience we also have small sandpaper cards that are in the shape of the cape and bay.  Here the children can feel the land part is rough and the water part is smooth.

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To help increase comprehension, the children are then able to brown crayon and blue watercolor paint to produce these forms on paper.

The Continents

This week we introduced the children to our Continent Globe.  They had already learned the Earth is made of land and water and have now been introduced to the idea that the Earth is divided into seven continents.  This materials is specific to Montessori schools and the continents are all assigned a color which helps make identification easier.  We also use a song to help teach the names of the continents and several students sang this song merrily for a long while today.  Don’t be surprised if you hear this song:
North America
South America
Europe
Africa and 
Asia
What about Antarctica
Don’t forget Australia..
North America
South America
Europe
Africa and Asia!

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Here two children are coloring a map of the continents using the Montessori colors.  Next week we will expand this lesson and bring out our puzzle map of the continents.  This is slightly more abstract as it is flat but we give them a presentation with clay to demonstrate the transition from the spherical shape to the flat shape.

The study of the continents begins our cultural curriculum.  This combines many subjects which connect the child to their place in the universe.  Dr. Montessori believed that children become interested in concepts when they see the relationship between things.  “…the mind of the child is capable of acquiring culture at a period of life when nobody would have thought it possible, but can only take it by his own activity.  Culture cannot be received from another, but only through the work and increased realization of oneself.  Nowadays, when we are aware of the powers of the absorbent mind during the period from three to six years, we know this possibility to take in culture at a very early age.”  (The Absorbent Mind, 2007, pg. 151)

Island and Lake

To continue our geography curriculum, we have begun studying land and water forms.  We have presented the children with the forms for lake (an area of water surrounded by land) and island (and area of land surrounded by water).  We do this by presenting a model in which the children can interact.  Our aim is to help the child develop their knowledge of, and interest in, the forms and shapes that land and water can adapt.  As in most Montessori materials, we give a concrete representation of the concept.  We also give the children the vocabulary.  As Montessori (The Absorbent Mind, 2007, pg. 154) said, “We found that our children who had the opportunity of learning these words early, recalled and remembered them easily when they found them later in the ordinary schools… while those children who met them for the first time found it difficult to remember them.  So the logical conclusion is to give scientific names at this age, of 3 to 6 years.  They are not given mechanically of course, but in connection with specially prepared apparatus, so that they are based on real understanding and experience.”

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Here a child is pouring water into the lake.

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The child then pours water into the Island form.

We will continue with cape and bay next.