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To provide the children with geographic points of reference, we selected materials designed by Drs Séguin and Montessori. The great advantage of these materials is that they make abstract concepts, which are often difficult to transmit to the children, very concrete. We therefore used some of them but we made them our own, and we suggest that you do the same.
You should by no means regard the activities presented below as being definitive. On the contrary, we hope that they will serve as a point of departure for you, providing a source of inspiration and a platform for experimentation!
Globe 1 : The planet surface
is made up of land and water.
Globe 2: These different parts
are called continents and oceans.
We urge you to choose activities which do not consist of a dual task, especially for such young children. One activity = one piece of knowledge to acquire. When the piece of knowledge has been acquired, another can be worked on with different materials. This way, the brain (which cannot do two things at once) never has two objectives to achieve or two new elements to retain at the same time. In the same way as the sense refinement materials isolate a single quality to be explored, it is interesting to note that the materials used for helping children to acquaint themselves with the culture of the world - geography, language, mathematics, music, geometry, etc. - isolate a single piece of knowledge and only contain one element to be appropriated at a time.
The activities we have presented here will be satisfying for most children up to the age of 5. You'll easily be able to find other activities which further develop the geographical reference points of older children, such as engaging with the outdoor environment as advocated in the Freinet approach, using the Montessori continent maps or working with attractive photo books containing inspiring photos and stories associated with geography. Don't hesitate to share your ideas & the activities you have discovered on the forum!
If you want to view more detailed presentations of these activities, please go to the practical underpinning page.