Young children are intensely interested in the world in which they live. The geography materials assist the children in discovering and understanding the characteristics and global nature of the world as well as the variety of cultures and peoples with whom they share the planet.
Dr. Montessori considered herself a "citizen of the world" and embraced all cultures and peoples. She originally developed the geography materials for the elementary school age children to use. Since the primary environments and elementary environments were separated only by low walls of shelving, the younger children could see the elementary children working with these materials were attracted to them. Consequently, led by the interest of the young children, Dr. Montessori included these materials in the environments designed for three to six year old children.
The geography materials build on the children's sensorial experiences of shape and color. The materials make concrete the abstract ideas of continents and countries. Children become acquainted with the shapes of continents, countries, states, and provinces. They enjoy relating various flags to the country each represents. They explore topographical forms including lake, island, archipelago, cape, bay, peninsula, gulf, isthmus, straight, mountain, and river. They learn about various cultures through objects collected from countries around the world. They sing and learn a few words in various languages. Our multi-cultural community of parents provide a rich resource, as they share their heritage with the children in a group presentation format.