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Montessori in a Minute: Continents, Land Forms, and Globes

All areas of the Montessori curriculum come together to help students become globally-minded citizens with a deep understanding and appreciation of all cultures. The Cultural area of the curriculum is the largest of the Montessori core areas. This is because understanding the planet is at the core of understanding life. Three main materials support the Montessori geography curriculum in the younger years: the Sandpaper Globe, the Continent Globe, and the Land/Water Form Trays.

The Sandpaper Globe

The Sandpaper Globe is a three-dimensional model of the Earth with raised sandpaper areas representing the continents and smooth areas for the oceans. This tactile globe also features continents and oceans colored in related shades to help students quickly and easily differentiate between them.

The Sandpaper Globe is a fascinating introduction to the concept of geography and the shape of the Earth. Children can see and feel the difference between land and water and recognize landforms and how they relate to each other on the map. Teachers introduce the Sandpaper Globe to children in the Primary classroom from ages 3 to 5. Teachers typically begin by presenting the globe and allowing the children to explore it independently. They encourage the children to touch the bumps with their fingers, trace the continents' outlines, and notice the difference between the rough continents and smooth oceans. As the children become more familiar with the globe, teachers introduce more advanced concepts, including the names of the continents and oceans and the location of different countries.

The Continent Globe

The Continent Globe is another tool that helps students conceptualize our world. The Montessori Continent Globe is carefully color-coded for easy identification of significant landforms. The chosen colors represent different continents. For example, North America is orange, South America is pink, Asia is yellow, and so on. Learning the names of the continents and where they are located on Earth is the key concept of this material. But there are others, such as where the continents are relative to the equator and how that determines their geographical features and resources. This is also a material introduced at the Primary level so that students gain a basic understanding of where the continents they will study are located. It builds on the knowledge gained from the Sandpaper Globe.

Land and Water Form Trays

The Land and Water Form Trays provide a hands-on and multisensory learning tool to teach children about different land and water forms on the earth's surface. The material consists of various trays with compartments containing a model of a different land or water form, such as a lake, island, peninsula bay, etc. The models are made of various materials, such as clay or plastic.

The Montessori Land and Water Form Trays are a fun and engaging material, allowing children to explore the models and understand the features on Earth that are also opposites of each other. They are used alongside the other Montessori geography globes and map materials to provide a more comprehensive understanding of geography.

The Montessori in a Minute Series

The Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of Montessori philosophy, its fundamental materials, and areas of the classroom. For all parents at Hudson Montessori School (Jersey City, New Jersey), the school hosts several Parent Education Nights a year to learn about the Montessori method and how the students learn curriculum components using a Montessori framework.

Please contact us to learn more about Hudson Montessori School's interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children aged 2 to eighth grade.

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