I love Montessori Continent Boxes. As Otto (3yrs) isn't attending a Montessori preschool this year I want to set up some Continent Boxes at home. Continent Boxes are nice materials to have at home as you can personalise the contents and make them relevant to your family.
The Montessori Continent Boxes are as much about Culture as they are about Geography. We show the child the physical location of the continent through maps and the globe. We share the culture of the people through photographs, models and artefacts.
In a classroom, the Continent Boxes are likely to be complete. We are just starting with our Continent Boxes and I want to include Otto (and my older children) in the process of collecting materials to put in them. I want to make collecting the materials a part of the learning process. I also want to make sure that our boxes are rich in culture, language, and texture, with genuine materials used where possible. It may take us months or years to collect items for each continent.
What might we put in our Montessori Continent Boxes?
- small figurines/landmarks
- postage stamps
- model animals
- currency notes/coins
- travel brochures/landmark pamphlets/handouts
- photographs of people, animals, flora/fauna, landmarks, food
- national dress - perhaps doll clothing size
- food - nonperishables, containers, labels or replicas
- handwork - by local artisans like jewellery, small baskets
- sound recordings of music or spoken language - perhaps of common phrases
- various TOOBS - including landmarks
The Montessori continent colours are consistent through geography materials including the Continents Globe and the World Puzzle Map. The colours are:
- North America – Orange
- South America – Pink
- Africa - Green
- Asia - Yellow
- Europe – Red
- Australia/Australasia/Oceania – Brown
- Antarctica – White
As we are just starting out I have included mostly model animals. Africa is a great place to start with young children who have already expressed an interest in or knowledge of animals.
You can see how the green of Africa is on the Continents Box and the Continents Globe.
For Australia, I have a few more things including currency, flags, model animals, print outs of a few key facts.
Australia (the continent) also includes New Zealand, and smaller countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and the Solomon Islands. We need more representation in our box from these countries.
The Montessori World Parts Puzzle Map (similar here), is on my wish list, it is a good companion to this work.
Here are some wonderful and interesting options for Continent Boxes.
Clear tubs with colour coded labels.
Draw-string bags in the Montessori continent colours.
Boxes which also have flag stickers on them from the countries in each continent.
Dollar store containers.
Clear shoe boxes.
Boxes that fit perfectly in the shelves!
Amazing home school geography shelves (Continent Boxes on top shelf).
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