Montessori methodology places great emphasis on other cultures and places in the world, which we explore as part of our Cultural Studies curriculum. One of our favourite activities at St Andrew’s Montessori is Cultural Boxes, of which there are seven; one for every continent in the world (North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia).
Different Montessori schools might choose to represent each Continent Box differently but one way to do it is to paint each box with the name and shape of the relevant continent (perhaps in different colours) so that children can easily identify each box.
The aim of the boxes is to collect and store things that represent the countries found on each of the continents. Examples of items that might be collected are: flags (from countries native to each continent), facts, trinkets and representative objects or pictures of relevant people, animals and iconic landmarks. Continent Boxes are usually presented in ‘bite size’ chunks, enabling children to process the information; watch the below video by My Montessori Works to get an idea of how a lesson might take place in a Montessori classroom:
As suggested in the video; to expand these types of lesson, a specific country is sometimes selected and representative items placed in a special box on which to focus. And when children seem to lose interest, the chosen country is easily changed to another.
We love personal stories attached to items (like the postcards from friends/family suggested in the video) that children might like to include in the various continent boxes; it helps them to remember and relate to other people and places that they’re learning about. The wonderful thing about London is that because it is so cosmopolitan, your children are likely to have family who live in other countries or friends who from other continents – making for a wonderful collection inside each Continent Box.
If you’d like further information about this tutorial, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer any questions.
Photo By Simply Sewn (at Blogspot)