Teaching About Culture
The Cultural area of the Montessori classroom covers a variety of subjects. Geography, Science, Botany, Zoology, and History are included. Art and Music are also considered a part of the Cultural Area of the classroom. The Montessori cultural studies are another thing that makes the Montessori classroom different from other ones. Dr. Maria Montessori felt that having knowledge and understanding of such subjects is what makes one a "cultured" person.
We include Geography, Science, Botany, and Zoology as the focus of the Cultural Area. Art and Music are in their own category, although they tie in with our monthly program. History is covered in greater detail as the children progress through the elementary part of a Montessori school. Studies that are found in the curriculum pages, is where the Cultural breakdown for the classroom is found. Daily group lessons are based on these four main areas of the Cultural part of the classroom. The curriculum is organised into monthly unit studies and throughout the month, subjects in Geography, Botany, Zoology, and Science are discussed.
During the year subjects discussed in Geography are things such as; land, air, and water, maps, continents, people, food and music from other countries. I like to take each continent and learn about it during the month. I set up a continent table each month with items from different countries for each continent. Curriculum pages break these down monthly.
Unit studies in science include subjects as; four seasons, the five senses, why leaves change color, layers of the earth, parts of a volcano, and biomes of the earth. I include some simple science experiments as well. The curriculum pages will break these, and other science subjects, down monthly. The materials will be changed on this shelf monthly as the unit studies change.
This is the area where the focus is learning about animals. I like to start with the five classes of vertebrates and have further lessons on each of the five. Invertebrates will be discussed also including insects, worms, and spiders. I think it is important to have classroom pets and so try to have one vertebrate and one invertebrate. We have a hamster and two hermit crabs. The curriculum pages will break these unit studies down monthly and works on the shelf change accordingly.
Seeds, parts of a plant, kinds of trees, herbs and spices, and what plants give us, are some of the unit studies that are discussed in Botany. This shelf will change monthly as well as the unit studies change. The curriculum pages will have the break down of the subjects and discuss how to present lessons.