Geography, taught right, is a beautiful way of stoking a child’s imagination.
It’s an excellent opportunity for cross-disciplinary learning—for making art and practicing fine motor skills, for reading tied to content learning, for storytelling and report-writing. Geography can and should be fun—and at Evergreen Academy Montessori, it is! But unfortunately, very little geography is taught in most preschool and early elementary programs. That is different in high-quality Montessori programs: at Evergreen Academy Montessori, geography is not just about memorizing maps and capitals; it’s a holistic approach to understanding our world. From early preschool through kindergarten, our students embark on a captivating journey of discovery, developing a deep appreciation for our planet’s diverse cultures, landforms, and interconnectedness. Read on to learn what makes geography at Evergreen Academy Montessori a unique and compelling experience for children!
- Land and Water: Children are introduced to the Montessori globe early in preschool. They begin by distinguishing between land and water and identifying the continents and oceans. Through hands-on exploration, they touch the smooth blue areas representing oceans and the rough areas representing continents. This sensorial experience lays the foundation for further geographical understanding.
- From Shapes to Countries: As our preschoolers progress, they begin working with planisphere puzzle maps. These maps allow children to interact with individual continents, using pieces with small knobs that strengthen their fine motor skills. Children develop spatial awareness and coordination by taking pieces in and out while naming the continents.
- Exploring Countries and States: As they advance, children engage with more complex puzzle maps that display countries within continents and states within countries. They explore the sensorial aspect of the puzzle maps, mastering the art of fitting the pieces together. They match countries to a control map as they progress, reading and recognizing their names. Through this process, they nurture concentration and persistence while expanding their world knowledge.
- Personalized Maps: Montessori Academy Idaho encourages students to express their understanding of geography through personal projects. In the primary years, children often create their own maps by punching out the shapes of countries with pins and gluing them onto large pieces of paper. This hands-on activity strengthens their grip in preparation for writing and enhances concentration and attention to detail. Older students precisely trace and color the puzzle pieces, preparing them for later writing and reading tasks. Students who go on to Montessori elementary school encounter more advanced maps, including pin maps for labeling countries, capitals, and geographic features such as mountain ranges, rivers, and lakes. This comprehensive approach allows students to better understand the world’s political and physical landscapes. They also expand their vocabulary by learning the names of land and water forms, cultivating a natural curiosity about our planet’s diverse topography.
Integration and Exploration
- Broadening Horizons: Because our students are fascinated with global exploration at a young age, by elementary, the Montessori student is excited to dive deeper into their interests. Students excitedly research the countries that have captured their imaginations. They integrate their geographical knowledge with lessons on fundamental human needs, understanding how people worldwide live, work, and thrive. Writing reports become an opportunity to combine geography with language arts, enhancing their interdisciplinary skills.
It may seem funny for a preschool to emphasize geography, but at Evergreen Academy Montessori, we find the study of geography transcends traditional boundaries. It ignites curiosity, nurtures exploration, and fosters a deep appreciation for our interconnected world. From early introductions to continents and oceans to in-depth investigations of countries, cultures, and geographic features, Evergreen Academy Montessori cultivates a lifelong love for geography, empowering students to become global citizens with a profound understanding of our diverse planet.