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Added Oct 2, 2018
Learn about the children's first introduction to geography 

There are some parts of the Montessori classroom that seem to get all the attention:
the beautiful Practical Life materials, the engaged constructions in the Sensorial
area, the precise Math lessons or the carefully sequenced Language materials. But
there's another area of the classroom that's often overlooked: the Cultural

The Cultural materials introduce the child to his or her place in the world,
offering the child opportunities to learn about place and community, to compare our
experiences here with the lives of children abroad, and to understand all the
factors that contribute to those experiences: art, music, dance, fashion, food,
topography, climate, and more.

A core quality of the Montessori materials is their capacity to represent concretely
challenging abstract concepts. The Cultural materials make concrete the
relationships of all the parts of the earth, starting with simple globes the child
can explore. The first globe, the Sandpaper Globe
, shown here, represents land on the Earth with rough surfaces and water on the
Earth with smooth surfaces, so the child can feel the areas on the face of the Earth
which are both land and water. The Colored Globe presents the land in its
continental divisions, introducing the child to the distinctions between continents
and beginning to code these continents in particular colors. The child can use this
map to learn the name of each continent. Eventually the child will explore the large
puzzle maps, which open the surfaces of the globe to lay flat and include puzzle
pieces for each continent.

These early materials allow the child to satisfy their inherent curiosity about our
planet and their place within in. By starting with simple comparisons, between land
and water or between the different continents, on a globe that is the right size for
a child to carry and manipulate, the materials help the child to understand the
geography of our planet. These same globes will be used to introduce the
relationship of the Earth and the Moon, the effects of sunrise and sunset and, most
beautifully, the passage of time over the course of each year of the child's life.

Seemingly simple, the Cultural materials, beginning with the Sandpaper and Colored
Globes, respond to the child's intrinsic motivation to learn about the world and
inspire the child to learn more about our differences and commonalities across the
Catherine McTamaney, Ed.D.
Christopher Academy Alumna

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