The great thing about most of our Geography, History, and Science materials is that they are very open-ended and can be used in a variety of ways, for a wide range of ages.
We're often asked why so many of our materials don't include step-by-step instructions (many include basic instructions). We don't include them because we want
the materials to be open-ended for both the teacher (Montessori Guide) and the children.
We don't want the presentation of the lessons to be constricted by how
we think it should be presented - our version may not be appropriate for
your children and their situation.
The presentation of the materials will vary greatly depending on the children,
their level of interest, their previous exposure to preparatory
materials, and their overall abilities. The materials will not be very
effective if you're locked into a presentation that isn't suitable for
the children you're working with. As the Montessori Guide, it's your
responsibility to adjust the presentation of the materials for the
children in your presence. This is why observation in the Montessori environment is so important!
We want our materials to offer a starting point for the children to learn about the topics that they're interested in. The materials are meant to be a point of departure - not a point of arrival. They’re meant to offer general/basic
information on the topic, provoke thoughts and questions, and inspire
the children to study the topic in greater depth. The information we've
provided in the materials is by no means complete. First of all, that
would be impossible - is any research ever complete? Secondly, if we
provided all the information then the children wouldn't have any reason
to search for further knowledge and find the answers to their questions.
Think of our materials as the 'springboard' that launches the children's desire for greater knowledge.
So now you're asking - "How do you know how to present the materials to the children??".
Good question! First off, you need to familiarize yourself with the various parts included in material (examples: 3-Part Cards, Definition Cards, Information Cards, Sorting Cards, Control Chart, etc).
You'll have a chance to do this while you prepare (print, laminate,
trim) the materials - that's the beauty in preparing your own materials.
Let's use the Types of Mountains
material to explore the various ways the materials can be used. This
will give you some ideas for presentations of other materials/topics -
simply follow a similar format. You can make the presentation as simple
or as complicated as you feel the children can manage.
We suggest you use the page "The Importance of Mountains" as a starting
point. The information on this page should generate thoughts,
questions, and conversation. This will provoke greater interest and
depth into this particular topic and related topics.
For the youngest children, simply learning the names of the 5 types of
mountains (using the non-photographic cards) is a great start. You can
use a 3 Period Lesson for this.
Once they've learned the names of them you can move on to the
definition of each type of mountain. If they read they can test their
own knowledge of the definitions by using the 3-part definition cards
that are included.
4. Match the definition cards with the non-photographic cards - putting the images and information together.
5. Introduce the photographic mountain cards. Learn the names of them using the 3-part cards.
6. Group the photographic mountain cards by type, and then check the sorting using the Control Card.
7. Match the non-photographic images to the photographic images.
8. Using a FREE map of the world (scroll 3/4 of the way down the page) the children can indicate where each of the mountains in this material are located.
The most important thing to remember when presenting new materials to the children is to "follow the child"
and their interests. Allow your mind to be open to their interests and
give them the creative room they desire to learn about the world we live
in. Don't offer them all the answers - encourage them to discover the ways in which they can find their own answers. This will lay a strong foundation for life-long learning.
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