Geography is the study of the life of man, the way humans live, and the way of life that has been established by a human society to sustain life. It is the study of the features of the earth, and the cultures that were developed in the various parts of the world by human beings. The needs of man are universal, but the way these needs have been met, differ. So we have many different peoples around the world who live differently, who have adapted differently to what the world has offered them in different locations.
We begin our study with the child with the home culture. We give the child a rich experience of the culture in which he lives. Then we expand from the home culture to other cultures and other places. This helps the child to understand that all humans need to make a way of lie that will support not only life but a good way to live.
The geography work has two divisions: physical geography and political geography. The work in these two groups goes parallel to one another. As usual, we will give the child keys
For Physical geography, we will give the child the basic forms of landmass. We will use models, pictures, and books to bring this information to the child. We will also talk about climate zones and how they affect the people who live in them. For political geography, we will look at the divisions of the world that have been made by humans.
As in Art and Music, the directress will be in charge of giving the information to the children. She must follow the children’s interest and cater to them. It is important for the directress is keep a positive attitude for all cultures, so the child can pick up on the fact that there is value and dignity in each human culture and is to be respected.
There will be some direct teaching with the Three Period Lessons and a lot of language work where information is passed on conversationally. The directress will also have to make most of the materials herself. One of the largest pieces of material are the geography folders. These contain two folders for each country.
Geography work as a whole is open ended. We must follow each child’s interest and supply him with the information he is seeking. Geography work is done to teach the child about the society in which he lives and others around the world. We want to convey the feeling of people around the world. This will help the child to realize that he is not only a member of his society, but a member of the world.
History is the study of the past. It begins with the present and it looks at what has come before.
For the young child, sense of time can be quite difficult. They have a hard time understanding yesterday and tomorrow. However, most children understand their grandparents and you can relate the past to one of their grandparents. The young child also has difficulty understanding that an adult was once a child. You can therefore discuss how they have a daddy how their daddy is an adult, but that he was once a child. Then discuss how he has a daddy and he too was a child once.
The information in regards to history is given orally and informally during some of the geography Exercises. For example, many of the flag stories can incorporate history of the flag and of the country.
There are many different statements or questions you can ask to have the child begin to think about history. Two examples are:
– The world was not always as it is today…
– A long time ago…there was no electricity.
There are also a few materials and Exercises that go along with history.
The interest in nature is a natural thing in every human being since the beginning of time. Language can be used as a pathway to the science of biology. Children have a great, natural interest in living things and biology is the study of living organisms, plants and animals. This is an area in which it is a pure joy in following the child’s natural interest. The child is naturally fascinated by “real and living things”.
There are two major areas of biology. The first is zoology, which is the scientific study of animals, their structure, physiology, classification, and distribution. The second is botany, which is the study of the classification of plants, their physiology, their structure, their ecology, distribution and economic importance.
In the Elementary class, the children will delve more deeply into these different groups and sub-groups of biology but for the Montessori Primary class, the child is only taught biology as in introduction and to have the awareness of the living organisms in our world.
The young child is taught the structure of plants and the distribution on a geographic level. The child always deals with the real object first, before moving to cards or to the abstract thing. Therefore, the directress should bring in as many different living things as possible. This allows for “real things” to be explored. A garden should ideally be part of every classroom. If not, the directress must make a special effort to bring in as much of nature as possible into the classroom.
All of these experiences are given on the oral level first. The information gained can be greatly enriched once the child is at the reading level.
Biology is a learning process for the directress as well. She will be guided each year by the child’s interests and must create material to follow these interests.
Physical Science is not focused on in the Primary class although the children are introduced to the basics of it. You can find many ideas in books or the Internet although just because they are experiments does not mean they are right for the Montessori classroom.
These Exercises should be placed next to the Practical Life area for easy access to cleanup materials and near a water outlet. The Exercises must all be safe for the child to use alone. For example, flotation, surface tension, and magnetism. These are all safe and interesting for the child to see. Occasionally, the teacher may do a special demonstration on a science phenomenon. These are one-time events, done only by the adult but presented so the child has a view of the particular phenomenon. These are usually science events that are not appropriate for the child to do alone, such as how an egg can be sucked in a neck of a bottle, or the reaction of oxygen to fire. For older children, experiments can be written out on index cards and kept in a file on the science shelf. The equipment needed to do these should be on the shelf as well. The child can then choose an experiment and following the instructions, proceed with the experiment.
The vocabulary and language in the experiments are taught in an informal manner and taught within the experiment itself. Explanations are not given outside of the child’s questions. The purposes are to make the child aware of scientific pheromone and to absorb it with interest and care.
Children know that science is important. They absorb some sense of it in the daily culture. By giving the child some experiments, we make the child aware and arise his interest in scientific phenomenon. This interest can grow and if the child continues in the Elementary class, he will have many opportunities to do these experiments. For some children, this can lead to a growing interest and can culminate in a future career choice.