I am fascinated by how different teaching philosophies and curricula teach geography and world cultures. Throughout November, I will share various methods of teaching our kids about the world. Yesterday we looked at Montessori Geography lessons– and today we’ll look at Montessori method of teaching World Cultures lessons.
Learn more about the general Montessori method at Living Montessori Now. Today we are looking at using the Montessori method to expose kids to world cultures. I interviewed 6 diverse Montessori teachers (bios and web sites down below!) who explained how they incorporate world culture lessons using the Montessori method, in their classrooms and in homeschooling.
What are your favorite way to expose kids to world cultures?
Seemi: I like to make sure I’m not offering a stereotypical introduction to a continent. It’s important to show not just traditional customs from a region but its modern amenities as well. It’s also important to show children engaging in daily life activities that our students can identify with. I want to show diversity, but I don’t want to show them as “other.”
I also want to give them a sensorial experience of the culture. So, I love to incorporate food, music, dancing, fabrics, and smells from other cultures into the classroom.While it’s nice to focus on a particular continent at a time, the things I mentioned above have more impact if they are a regular part of the classroom. For example, during a game of freeze dance, we played belly dance music from the Middle East. While studying about butterflies, we danced to a Spanish song called La Mariposa. Our language activities have images of people from around the world etc.
These are my blog posts about the various continents: (incredible content to help you get started!!!!)
Marie: Hands on activities are our favorite ways to expose our children to world cultures. We studied the Chinese New Year in our post here. We also listen to different types of music to introduce our children to world music.
Melissa: It’s no secret that children naturally explore the world through all of their senses, and I love using images and food as well as music and stories to allow the children in my classroom to experience world cultures through as many avenues as possible. Most of all, though, I love when they can learn directly from one another. Having parents from my classes come and share with the children about traditions from the cultures they identify with not only allows the children to learn about world cultures, but it brings the concept home and makes it even more relevant, since it directly involves their friends!
Deb: To make geography interesting for multiple ages, I like to combine continent boxes with Montessori-inspired Little Passports activities introducing a variety of countries (like those from Russia featured above). Preschoolers can be included in studies of states through a similar approach. I have a post with a Montessori-inspired state box for Colorado, which could be adapted for any state study.
Anastasia: In addition to what I’ve described in the previous post on Montessori Geography, I also like to add my personal experience at school from age 10-13. My school was located in Siberia and our English teacher used Project Based Learning to teach English and introduced us to the culture of the world through participating in collaborative, global projects together with hundreds of students from all over the world. You can read more about it here. It was the most effective, interesting, natural and creative way of being introduced to diversity, different cultures, language and geography learning first hand from peers.
For a great overview and additional information on teaching world cultures to kids, see our pinterest board on multicultural learning!
Follow Kid World Citizen’s board Global/Multicultural Learning on Pinterest.
Thank you so much to our Montessori experts! Find out more at their web sites:
Melissa taught in Montessori Primary (3-6 year old) classrooms for six years. She later started a small Montessori preschool program for her and a handful of children from their neighborhood. You can read about her little school here.
Deb Chitwood taught as a Montessori preschool teacher for 10 years, in addition to being a school owner and director for 8 of those 10. She homeschooled her two children through high school, using Montessori methods completely during the preschool years, and in principle during the later years. Her fabulous Montessori resources can be found at LivingMontessoriNow.com
Anastasia has taught in four different Montessori Centres, beginning for 6 years at the American Montessori School in Russia, where she was introduced to the Montessori method. She then moved to Australia where she taught toddlers, received her formal teaching degree, and later taught preschool children. Today she uses the Montessori method to raise her daughter at home. You can find her at Montessori Nature.
Seemi, a trained Montessori teacher (AMS) has been working in Montessori for 16 years as a teacher, administrator, and school owner. Find out more about her school, plus tons of Montessori activities at TrilliumMontessori.org.
Marie has been homeschooling with the Montessori Method for over 3 years. She has used Montessori to setup a home environment where the children have access to all aspects of the home free of fences or barriers, and uses Montessoriprinciples to help her children respect themselves, others, and the home. She blogs at Montessori Setup.
Jennifer is raising her daughter in Montessori, and began home learning with her a year ago. She started her licensed Montessori daycare 5 months ago and blogs at StudyatHomeMama.com.