As is the way with Montessori lessons the concrete is presented before the abstract. This is a far more meaningful method of learning as it makes concepts more easily understood and accessible. ‘How exactly does this work?’ I vaguely hear that question spring to mind. In a nutshell this means that you start with a tangible reality, and, therefore, concrete model of learning. For example, if we were teaching about a musical instrument, the ideal way to introduce the instrument would be to bring it into the classroom.
Now with the world that can be a bit more problematic! However, the children will readily accept a representation if the real physical example presents a challenge. Hence in the case of the world we start with the Land and Water globe. It is aptly named as its only features are land and water. For our purposes in the Montessori classroom this is ideal, as the world is made up of land and water… but also air! In introducing the land and water globe we also discuss air and when we talk about it we ensure that we really take in some deep breaths and fill our lungs.
The children love this whole activity as it gets them thinking and working out why land, water and air are so important. And they are so smart and beautifully imaginative. They worked out that if we had to give up one of those it would be land as one child said, ‘ We can live on a boat’ and another added, ‘and swim.’ It made me think of Noah’s ark!