Montessori Cultural Studies and its materials are devised to help the children achieve basic knowledge on science, biology, geography and history. It is important for the child to learn about the real world as soon as possible i.e about the natural environment and the man-made environment as well as the difference between the two. Cultural studies not only help the children to form a systematic understanding of their surrounding but also it teaches them to accept different ways of life lead by different people. When exploring the continent globe at home with your child, you can also discuss with the children the variety of animals that live within the seven continents of the world as well as the countries that are within these continents as an extension of the activity. As a parent, you can also explain to the child that the continents are ‘land divided into different parts’ where the blue on the globe represents the ‘water’.
In the Montessori classroom, when teaching about the continental globe and map, we use a Montessori continents globe whereby each continent is assigned a particular colour in order to encourage memory by association (North America – orange; South America – pink; Europe – red; Africa – green; Asia – yellow; Australasia/ Oceania – brown; Antarctica – white). When teaching the child about the globe, we first explain that on this globe land is divided into continents which are represented by different colours. The child would then feel the continents on the globe by tracing them with their fingers acknowledging the varying sizes and shapes of the continents. The teacher will then ask the child to choose a colour and name the continent for the child. The next step will be for the teacher to give the child little information about the continent.
When teaching the child about the continents of the world in the Montessori setting, the child would first explore the puzzle map so he/ she can be familiar with the shapes of the continents. When the child is familiar with the puzzle map, they will then learn the names of the continents, two at a time using ‘The Three Period Lesson’. To help the child learn all the names of the seven continents, as an extension activity, you can also sing the seven continents song to them.
The objectives with regards to teaching the child the continental globe and the puzzle map of the world are: 1) To introduce the child to the concept of the earth being divided into continents 2) To give the child the concept of the shape of the landmasses 3) To introduce the names of the continents 4) To introduce the continent where the child lives 5) With the older children, the concepts of the Equator and the North and South Poles can also be introduced. 6) To introduce a flat map to the child 7) To reinforce the knowledge of positions of the continents 8) To teach the name of the continents 9) To teach about land and water
“Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe… For all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form a whole unity.” -Maria Montessori-