With Adrian turning three years old, in addition to other geography lessons, I am also adding a theory curriculum, to introduce new terminology and other concepts. I have to be mindfull though not to be too wordy as Adrian will not sustain his attention if he is bombarded with many unfamiliar words. So, the goal is to be as simple as possible and make it interesting.
Geography is one of the oldest sciences, and it comes from two Greek words geo -"the Earth" and -graphy -"writing" - meaning writing about the Earth. To make the lesson hands-on, I made a "geography tray" with the following concrete objects:
- some soil/dirt in a glass jar representing the Earth;
- a map (telling us a story);
- a compass (that helps us figure out the direction we are going);
- a small Telescope ("Pirate Navigation").
In Montessori education, subjects are usually taught from concrete to abstract. So, introducing a child to real objects which the child can hold and relate to (such as a doll representing a person or dirt representing the Earth), facilitates the assimilation of new information.
Geography is the study of our Earth, people and places in our world. People who study geography are called geographers. Geographers are interested in Earth's physical features, such as mountains, deserts, rivers, and oceans. They are also interested in the ways that people affect and are affected by the natural world. So, the relationship between the Earth and its people is the essence of geography today. I asked Adrian on which continent does he live (he pointed to North America), and we looked through Child's First Picture Atlas.
The colored globe represents the Earth, a doll-boy represents all the people and a map is to show us places.
We talked briefly about maps, and that a map is a picture that tells a story. A map can make a large place look small, just like an Eiffel Tower on this map. Maps show what a place looks like from high up. Some maps tell us about weather, others tell us how to find places/things or how to go from one place to the other.
Next lesson, we will talk more about maps and will do simple mapping.
The goal of this lesson was to introduce some terminology and spark an interest in a geography.
The result: Adrian was fascinated with dirt and a compass, and he liked the story about pirates using a compass to sail towards the Northern star.