Montessori in a Minute: Map Puzzles
What Makes Montessori Map Puzzles Unique?
Creating globally minded citizens is a pillar of Montessori education. Students are taught that all things are interconnected and nothing is studied in isolation, including our world. Students begin learning about countries and cultures around the globe as early as age 2!
In order for children to truly understand other countries, they must first learn to identify them. Three types of maps are introduced to children: the World Map, Continents Maps, and the student’s Country Map.
The colors are standard across all Montessori Maps: North America is always orange, South America is always pink, and so on. This continent color association stays consistent throughout their early Montessori education.
The most important thing about these puzzles is that all pieces are proportional. Students are able to feel each country or state’s size in relation to each other. They can see how much larger Asia is than Europe. They can hold a proportionally smaller country like Belize in one hand and hold Canada in the other before placing them on the same map.
The Value of Montessori Map Puzzles
Maps are used in every type of classroom to help students memorize continents and countries, but memorization is only one benefit. Montessori students use these maps to gain a deeper, more rich understanding of how countries fit together and their relative sizes. They feel the grooves and edges of each border and must pay attention to how it fits.
Even before they can write, their hand muscles are strengthened through grasping the small map piece pegs. Students eventually trace the map pieces on paper, building their dexterity and writing skills.
The labeling process begins after the children clearly understand each map—usually by Kindergarten and Lower Elementary. Using a control map, students label each country with their flag, cities, capitals, languages spoken, major landmarks, and more. With this geography knowledge base, students can better understand cultural studies, biology, geology, history, and even music!
The Montessori in a Minute Series
Montessori schools like Hudson Montessori School utilize specially designed tools like Montessori Geography Maps to promote experiential and sensorial learning that students can repeatedly practice at each age level. Often, these tools are self-correcting, allowing the child to check their work and adjust accordingly.
This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of these fundamental materials.
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 age 2 to sixth grade, sign up for an open house tour most Tuesdays at 9 a.m.