One of the questions I get a lot when parents are interested in getting together to start a Jewish Montessori school or when a new yeshiva is interested in becoming a Montessori school is how do you teach secular subjects.
The other night, I was able to participate in a parents education session at Yeshivat Netivot Montessori where the primary class teachers showed interested parents the cirriculum for geography this year.
Those parent education sessions are crucial to the success of any Montessori school because parents get a glimpse of their child’s amazing and wonderful journey.
It also allows parents to appriciate the value Montessori schools provide and how much their child will learn.
Introduction of Geography Lessons
Geography is more than physical maps, land masses and flags.
The the main part of teaching geography in this envoronment is to give the child a sense of his or her role in the community. The child always start learning by asking the question “where I am?” and then learns their city, country, and continent.
In a Jewish Montessori school, teachers and students will explore questions like how does my Jewish home compared to a Jewish home in Ethopia or Mexico? How do their shuls look like? What food do they eat?
Introduction of Basic Geographical Elements
The first lesson is to teach the child about the basic elements: Land, air and water.
It follows the same principle as any Montessori lesson:
The teacher who will be giving the lesson has three clear containers on a rug filled with dirt, water and air.
The teacher will lift up the container with dirt and tell the class: This is land. The children will repeat back the name of the object “Land”. Then the teacher shos the other containers and repeats the steps.
After this step is mastered, the teacher will ask a child: “Avigail, can you show me where (dirt, air, or water) is?”
Once this step is competed, the teacher will show a container and ask the class: “Dan, can you tell me what this is?”
After that lesson is mastered, the cild will have the opportunity to sort objects such as animals, planes, boats according to the air, land or water.
Once the child is confident, you can move on from objects to pictures. You can cut out magazine image and glue them on cards or you can print out images and laminate them.
Another beautiful resource for the land, water, air lesson is this Land, Air, and Water Kit- Montessori Primary Kit with Sorting Cards and Jars by the Etsy Shop Free Spirit Kids.
Interested in learning more about Jewish Montessori? Register for our first North East Regional Jewish Montessori Conference!