How Do You Teach Geography To Preschoolers
The Ultimate Guide To Montessori
I never really developed an appreciation for geography as a child. As an adult, I fell in love with geography, and its now one of my favorite subjects. I regularly prepare Montessori-inspired geography activities for my 3¾-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, and shes already developed a love of geography. Today, I want to share a Montessori geography scope and sequence along with Montessori-inspired geography activities that can help other preschoolers develop a love of geography, too.
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Wooden Jigsaw And Floor Puzzles
There are plenty of geography puzzles available, ranging from wooden ones that very young kids can do, to more complex jigsaw puzzles. I have not yet gotten a wooden geography puzzle the one-year-old can do, but I plan on purchasing a continent one or a globe puzzle.
For my five-year-old, we have done both floor puzzles of the 50 states and smaller ones. She loves itshell beg me to do these with her, even though now she has a pretty good idea of what goes where. Again, these are great for an awareness of where continents, countries, or states go, depending on what map the puzzle depicts.
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How Can I Make School Fun At Home
Make learning more like playtime.
Put The World Into Perspective With Google Earth
Anytime fourth grade teacher Julia McIntyre talks about her personal travels, she uses Google Earth to show students the distance between their school and her destination. It really puts it into perspective for them, she says. Now you can also use Google Earth to follow National Geographic Explorers, including those working to protect the oceans through National Geographics Pristine Seas initiative. Josh Williams students explore the Pristine Seas program and use Google Earth to analyze how places around the world have changed over time.
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Teach Children About The Geography Of Their Parents Home Countries With Classroom Games And Activities
Another way to make geography applicable to children, is to make it relatable. In our increasingly multicultural classrooms, children may speak different languages at home, bring different foods for lunch, or understand relationships and families differently.
A great way to create appreciation and cohesiveness in children at a young age, is to introduce lessons about the homelands where classmates came from, or where their parents came from.
To that end, if you opt to do country or continent-focused geography lessons, pick the ones that represent where the children are from or originate. If you have several Koreans, Indians, Middle-Easterns or Mexicans in your classroom, highlight the shapes of their countries with individual cut-outs. Point out their locations on a map. Use this to teach North, East, West and South.
Then, tell stories from those countries. Learn their songs and games, or eat foods from those cultures . You can do all of this in your preschool circle time.
Follow up with crafts and daily activities to reinforce what the children have learned in circle time. For example, bring in dramatic play costumes so children can reenact the cultural stories theyve heard.
Or, set up play areas to mimic the environments in those countries. You can make palm trees to depict a tropical location .
Bring pinatas to the classroom and have a fiesta.
Heres an idea: if you do preschool yoga, teach children about where yoga came from! Make it a geography lesson!
Going On A Field Trip To The Museum Aquarium Zoo And Other Educational Places
While field trips can help children learn about international geography , preschool educators can use these types of field trips specifically to focus on local habitats, peoples and landscapes.
For example, in the Vancouver area, preschool classrooms can visit salmon hatcheries to see, first-hand, the way that salmon eggs are laid, and the amazing upward journey these creatures take to multiply.
They could also visit nearby farms and pumpkin patches, to learn about food grown in our climate.
They could visit historic places like First Nations museums and heritage museums, where they can be immersed in the lives of local people and their history in the area.
They can go gold panning to understand how minerals are found in our earth.
In the winter, they can go tobogganing in the snow after being taught about mountain slopes and seasons.
In the summer, they can go to the beach to learn about marine life.
See more of our field trip ideas, here.
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Scope & Sequence Of Canadian Geography
The Canadian Council for Geographic Education has put together a scope & sequence plan for students across Canada for Kindergarten through Grade 12, divided into 6 essential elements:
Ideally, you want to start your learning experiences as close to your child as possible with your community and neighbourhood, and then start moving out to bigger concepts like provinces, countries, and the globe adding more complex ideas and subjects such as being a responsible citizen, the environment, how history and geography are tied together, and more complicated topics of earth sciences.
Below are some ideas for teaching geography at various general age / grade ranges. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions.
For the very young learner , understanding their local community and how they fit into the bigger picture is a great place to start.
Take Note If They Show Interest In A Country
When my two-year-old watched the Bubble Guppies episode about Austrailia, an obsession was born. She quickly learned that kangaroos and koalas are from Australia, and they were instantly her favorite animals. I started doing a little research on other things that are from Australia, from fairy bread to dot painting, and she loved anything Australian I introduced. If your child shows an interest, milk it for all its worth. Exploring the country together will not only teach them geography, but it will help build their curiosity and research skills, too.
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Brought To You By National Geographic Geobee
With the right geography lesson, students can travel around the world without ever leaving the classroom. Teachers of any grade and subject can incorporate geography into their curriculum to help students gain a global perspective and understand the world around them. From students learning to locate different cities, states, and countries on a map to understanding time zones and where their clothing comes from, we asked teachers to share their favorite tips and fun geography lessons to inspire students curiosity about the world. Heres what they had to say:
+ Ways To Teach Montessori Geography Kids Will Love
Teaching geography is all about sharing the world with children. As a whole depending on the educational philosophy that you follow the activities you provide might be very different. The one thing I love about Homeschooling is I can embrace many different styles depending on my childs interest and you can too. These ideas provide you and your children the joy to explore the world with open ended activities. Sharing world cultures can be exciting that is why we wanted to share these Fun Ways to Teach Montessori Geography to your children.
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Spatial Thinking And Maps Skills In Young Children
Spatial thinking allows students to comprehend and analyze phenomena related to the places and spaces around themand at scales from what they can touch and see in a room or their neighborhood to a world map or globe. Spatial thinking is one of the most important skills that students can develop as they learn geography, Earth, and environmental sciences. It also deepens and gives a more complete understanding of history and is linked to success in math and science. Young students also enhance their language skills as they collaborate and communicate about spatial relationships. Students who develop robust spatial thinking skills will be at an advantage in our increasingly global and technological society. This collection can help you teach an assortment of map skills through activities that address the spatial thinking abilities of young children and developmental appropriateness. The collection is not intended to be a complete map skill program, and the activities can be adapted for higher or lower grades. for a downloadable summary of all activities and the learning objectives and spatial thinking concepts targeted in each activity.
Geography Broadens Your View Of The World
Lets face it, so many times, its easy to get caught up in what you see. Its easy to start thinking about your little corner of the world like thats all there is. And while your corner of the world does matter and while you should do what you can to make a difference where you are, theres a big world out there.
You see, when you start to get an idea of how big our world really is, you start to see and appreciate the differences, the vastness of it. You start to see not just land formations and maps, but you start to appreciate cultures and foods, traditions and interesting places to visit.
Yet the question still remains, how do you take this information and work it into your homeschool curriculum? More importantly, how do you make it enjoyable to teach and to learn all these different things about world geography?
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Children’s Books Set In Different Countries
There are plenty of childrens books for all ages that talk about different places on the globe. We’ve been reading a series called Living In. We have read the books about Australia, Italy, and Mexico so far. This series is great because it introduces a character who lives there and walks through their daily life, all while touching on the history, geography, and culture of those places.
Nurturing The Whole School Community
Exploring and being part of the larger school environment is also important when developing a sense of place. Teachers can plan activities around these events and ideas:
- Plan visits to different classrooms around the school so children have the opportunity to share experiences with other children. Having common experiences links people and places, helping children make social connections outside of their families.
- Engage children in whole school activities centering on a common theme or purpose, like planting a garden or participating in field day activities. This reminds children that they share the space and share a common attachment to the space with others.
- Organize schoolwide family evenings on the playground. Families and children can play together outside of school hours and develop a sense of place with the school while getting to know other students and families.
- Host schoolwide activities such as multigenerational family dinners or cultural celebrations to highlight the commonalities and differences of traditions and demonstrate that each familys culture is valued and respected.
- Wear T-shirts with specific school colors or mascots to foster a sense of school spirit and community.
- Take photos showing the children, their families, and the teachers interacting in the classroom and neighborhood and post them to a class blog or website. This helps develop the psychological attachment that forms the basis of sense of place.
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Bring In The Maps And Flags With Paper Glue Stickers And Play Dough
When searching out preschool geography lesson activities, youll find a ton of ideas online. They usually have to do with paper maps, magazine cut outs, flashcards, dioramas and playdough. Of course, these are wonderful tactile learning materials to educate children about the map of the earth, with its continents, oceans, countries and landscapes.
Children can learn to place flag stickers on the appropriate countries, using a large classroom poster map.
Or, they can stick magnetic animals on the map, to see where their habitats are.
Flashcards with country shapes or flags can also be a fun game.
Its also fun to make playdough earth balls, or to squish playdough onto paper maps, to form 3D mountains and beaches.
We encourage you to scope out ideas that work for your classroom or home learning environment.
Adapting For Many Languages
Language also contributes significantly to fostering young childrens sense of place and belonging. Childrens sense of belonging can be impacted when they are members of a community in which their home language is not spoken. Since so much of learning in preschool builds on prior knowledge, and much of that prior knowledge is learned and understood in the home language, it is important for teachers to design classroom activities to help children connect prior learning in their home language with new learning . For example, the inclusion and acceptance of many languages and cultures should be immediately visible to children and families arriving at school. Effective teachers learn which languages are spoken in each childs home and post Hello or Welcome signs in all the families languages to demonstrate that the children and their families are important members of the school community . The classroom should have materials, such as books, music, and dramatic play props that represent what the child sees and hears at home in order to nurture the sense of place and belonging in the classroom.
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Do Geographic Science Experiments At Preschool
With safety in mind, you can put on preschool science experiments that teach geography, too. The most obvious of these is, of course, a volcano!
While not exactly a science experiment, you can make a pudding or jell-o layered dish with various yummy ingredients that form the earths crust. Add figurines like dinosaurs or lego people to show us on top of the earth! By the way, this works with candy and cookie layers, or cookies and cake.
Bring in a helium balloon tank to teach children about air and weights. Bring in sticks and rocks from outside, and show that one of these floats in water, but the other doesnt! Why is that? How does that scale? Can very big logs sink, even though they are heavier than small rocks?
Make smores and, while squishing the marshmallows and chocolate between the graham crackers, explain how mountains are made.
Exploring Your Natural Nearby Landscape With Outdoor Education
Perhaps youll start a classroom garden with children. Use this opportunity to teach them about the local climate, and how it affects the foods that can grow here, versus in other places. When you play outside, or go on a walk, visit the duck pond or walk in the forest, to teach about natural habitats. Outdoor education has many other benefits, which you can read about here.
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Start A Flat Stanley Project
This is a fun way to live through world experiences vicariously through a paper Stanley who gets sent in the mail to a friend or relative. The receiver documents where Flat Stanley goes, takes photos with Flat Stanley and writes about the experiences. Flat Stanley can even send back treats for the class at school! Learn more about The Flat Stanley Project here.
And most importantly, have fun helping your kids learn geography! Happy Studying!
A Childs Developing Sense Of Place
Most children are born ready and eager to explore their physical world. Drawing on the work of Jean Piaget, Gandy suggests that children begin developing their sense of place during early childhood. Equipped with curiosity and their five senses, young children explore and manipulate materials in their environment to understand the world around them.
In preschool and early primary classrooms, geography is often viewed traditionally, focusing on activities that build geographic skills, such as mapmaking. However, the geography discipline consists of two main subfields: physical geography and human geography. While physical geography is the study of the natural environment, human geography is the study of the relationship between humans and their natural environment .
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Tips To Teach Your Kid Geography
Making geography fun for everyone
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Ask your grade schooler to find Iraqor even New York Cityon a map. Not even close? Well, older students dont know much about geography, either. A recent National GeographicRoper survey finds that only 37 percent of 18- to 24-year-old Americans can identify Iraq on a map half cant even locate the Big Apple, and 20 percent are unable to pick out the Pacific Ocean. While elementary school students today are getting heavy doses of reading, writing and arithmetic, geography just isnt making the grade in most classrooms. What we tend to forget is that geography isnt just map smarts: Its cultures, environments, languages, peoples and places. Its the key to opening the door to an increasingly global future, including success in a global workforce. So its more important than ever to counter the geographical brain drain. Heres how to bring the world home to your child: ****
Make maps accessible. Stick a world map up on the wall, keep an atlas within reach, and put a globe on the study desk. Whenever a faraway place is mentioned on TV or in a book, locate it together. Talk about the world. Clip a newspaper article about a global event and share it with your child. Switch from cartoon TV stations to watch and discuss Discovery Channels amazing series Planet Earth, a showcase of worldwide natural wonders.
Amy Souza is a public school teacher in Chicago