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Pakistan Montessori Council



Culture 1(Geography & History)

Discuss the significance of Montessori cultural exercises?

Significance of Montessori cultural exercises

In a Montessori classroom, experiences in life sciences (Botany and Zoology), physical sciences history,
geography, dance and music are given to the child under the header of cultural exercises. The Montessori
cultural studies curriculum provides children with an opportunity to explore the whole world including the
continents, countries, people, cultures, terrain, natural phenomena, science and arts. The Montessori aims for
cultural studies are to help the child.

 Develop his personality

 Adapt to his own culture
 Become an independent, useful member of his society.

Significance of Cultural Exercises:

 During early years the child is quick to grasp culture. He absorbs most of the culture around him during
0 to 6 years.
 The child’s natural ability to absorb the cultural understanding and norms of life prevalent around him
are universal regardless of the fact that the child is born in America or a primitive tribe of Africa.
 The sensitive period for culture, according to most of the psychologists, also sustains through 2 to 5
years of age. It is, crucial to expose child to direct cultural experiences, including ways of living, history,
sciences, geography and arts, during the absorbent period to maximize development in this area.
 Cultural subjects are character forming and they cultivates the spirit of the child. Children develop
cultural values naturally and undoubtedly, but still something lacks in today’s complex world, most of
which has been designed by the adults for the adults, which hinders the child’s fullest cultural
 There are strong reasons to support the point that it should be the culture of the land which should be
incorporated in the Montessori curriculum and not some foreign culture.

How Montessori classrooms engages children in cultural experiences:

In Montessori classrooms the cultural activities are very intelligently incorporated in the environment. Along
with familiarizing children with the culture, these meaningful and interesting activities fulfill the developmental
needs of the children.

Exercises of practical life (EPL): Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful

Life: means the way of living. Practical life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can
learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.
Sensorial Exercises: The Sensorial Materials help the child become aware of details. At first children
are exposed to materials with strong contrasts such as tall/short, rough/smooth, loud/soft. Then the child
is exposed to more materials where the contrasts are more subtle. They work on organizing 10 objects
from tallest to shortest, or lightest to darkest. Each of the Sensorial Materials define one quality such as
length, height, width, color, weight, shape, texture, sound, or smell. The Montessori Sensorial Materials
help the child to distinguish, categorize, and relate the information to objects they already know.
Language Exercises: The exercises include a variety of gross and fine motor skill activities that help
the child develop hand and eye coordination. Montessori modules may be taken in any order.
Emphasizing the fundamentals of the phonics approach to reading. Develop child s vocabulary, writing
and reading skills.
 Mathematical Exercises: Montessori Math – Memorization
o Number Rod Addition.
o Short Bead Stair Addition.
o Addition Snake Game.
o Addition Strip Board.
o Subtraction Snake Game.
o Subtraction Strip Board.
o Short Bead Stair Multiplication.
o Multiplication Board.


1. Culture determines what we know– the sum of all the angles in a triangle; what a screw driver is used
for; how to use a computer to find out where Peloponnesians are.
2. Culture determines what we don’t know– how to catch a fish by hand; how to build a dugout canoe and
navigate the Seas without chart or compass.
3. Culture determines what we want to be– lawyer; dairy farmer; computer programmer; doctor; shaman;
pearl diver
4. It demonstrates that all people have the same fundamental needs and places an emphasis on the
similarities among the human race.
5. Children are taught to respect people from other races, countries, and religions.
6. The geographical factors influence how people live as they adjust to their environment.
7. At this point, the teacher involves the class in a study of life and culture on earth.
8. The curriculum then branches into different directions, such as: (a) geography, (b) culture (mannerism of
life), and (c) history.
9. Children are taught history parallel to the concept of time.


Name and briefly explain all the exercises that can be carried out using the Jigsaw Puzzle Maps of the

Naming the Continents on the Jigsaw Puzzle Map:


Jigsaw puzzle map of the hemispheres.


 To teach the names of the seven continents;

 Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, South America and Antarctica.
 To teach the names of the oceans; Arctic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Antarctic


Note: complete work cycle is to be observed.

1. Invite a child and have him lay out a mat and shift the continent puzzle map to the mat.
2. Select and take out three continents which are contrasting in color as well as in shape. Also include the
child’s own continent.
3. Give a three-period lesson, and continue on the following days until the child becomes well familiar
with the name of each continent.
4. When the child has learnt the names of the first three continents, add more continents and continue the
three period lesson, while reviewing previously learned names as well.
5. When the child has learnt the names of all the seven continents, give names of the oceans in the same
way through three period lesson.

Age: 3.5 years onwards

Pacific Ocean: It separates Asia and Australia Atlantic Ocean: It separates the Americas from
from the Americas. Europe and Africa.

Indian Ocean: It washes upon southern Asia Arctic Ocean: It covers much of the Arctic and
and separates Africa and Australia. washes upon northern North America and Eurasia.

Antarctic Southern Ocean: It encircles


Puzzle Maps - The Continents


 A set of six wooden maps, one for each continent except Antarctica.
 Each continent is divided into puzzle pieces according to the countries.
 The wooden knob is approximately in the position of the capital city of each country.
 The Puzzle Map of the World
 Invite the child to come and work with you.
 Tell him that we are going to need a mat.
 Have him take out and unroll a mat. Bring him over to the puzzle maps and tell him that today we will
be working with the puzzle map of one of the continents.
 (Begin with your home continent.) Have him bring it over to the mat. Have him place it on the right side
of the mat.
 Then have the child bring over the puzzle map of the world and have him place it to the left of the
continent map.
 Have the child sit to your left.


 Point to the continent you have chosen (for example Europe) on the world map.
 Ask the child for this continent’s name.
 Show the child that the Europe on the world map is the Europe that is in large (on the continent map).
 You can point out the outline of the continent on the continent puzzle.
 Tell the child that now (on the Europe map) we see the countries.
 Ask the child to put the Map of the World back.
 Slowly, by using the knobs, take out three of the puzzle pieces (three different countries, not touching,
and preferably, not the same color.)
 Place each one on the mat to the left of the puzzle.
 Take out another three pieces and have the child replace them in their correct spot.
 Take out four of the pieces and have the child replace them correctly.
 Take out another four pieces and again have the child replace them correctly.
 Have the child take out all the pieces and then replace them.
 Allow the child to work with the pieces of the country map.
 You take out three of the pieces.
 Give the names of the three pieces, i.e. France, Poland, and Norway.
 Repeat the names.
 Then ask the child to replace them, using their name. For example: “Please put back France.”
 Repeat until all of the pieces have been put back.
 Then ask the child to take out the same three pieces, one by one, and by name. For example, “Please
take out France.”
 Once all three are out, ask the child, “What country would you like to put back?” (The child should
respond with the name of one of the countries.)
 Repeat this Three-Period lesson for the other countries until the child knows all of the countries by
name. (This may be over a period of time.)
 Once the child knows his home continent, he can choose to work with another continent map and the
presentation is as above.

Names of the various countries.

 Visual recognition of the forms of the political divisions of the continents.

 To help the child acquire the names of the countries.

Control of Error

 Fitting the pieces together.

3 1/2 – 4 years


Explain how land and water forms are introduced to the child?

Definitions of Land And Water Forms:

An ISLAND is a piece of land surrounded by water. A LAKE is a body of water surrounded by land.

A BAY is an inlet of the sea surrounded mostly by A CAPE is a piece of land jutting into body of water
land. beyond the rest of the coast line.

A PENNINSULA is a piece of land jutting out into A GULF is an arm of the sea extending far into the
the water and is almost surrounded by water. land.

An ISTHMUS is a narrow strip of land which joins A STRAIT is a narrow waterway connecting two
larger portions of land. larger portions of land.

An ARCHIPELAGO is a group of islands. A SYSTEM OF LAKES is a formation of several

lakes grouped together.

Exercise 1
Land and Water Form Trays:

1. Following ten models of land and water forms prepared in trays, with each land and water form
having its exact opposite.
 Island and lake
 Cape and bay

 Peninsula and gulf

 Archipelago and system of lakes
2. Pictures of real examples of land and water forms
3. A small tray
4. A jug
5. A small bucket with water
6. A sponge or towel to dry out the trays, and clean up spills.
7. Box of objects, tray and towel


To provide concrete sensorial impressions and names of major land and water forms.

Presentation: Note: complete work cycle is to be observed.

1. Invite a small group of children to work with you.

2. Introduce them to the place where the land and water form trays are kept.
3. Firstly, select the island and its opposite the lake and shift the material to the workplace with the help of
the children.
4. Also ask the children to bring the other material required for the presentation.
5. Say, “I am going to pour water in these trays carefully to make geographical land and water forms”.
6. Slowly pour enough water in a land and water form tray and place the jug aside.
7. Pointing to the tray, tell its name to the children.
Also give a brief definition of the land and water form e.g “A lake is a body of water which is
surrounded completely by land”.
8. Also show the pictures of real lakes.
9. Then, put the first tray aside and ask a child to pour water into the other tray.
10. In the same way, give the name of the form and its brief definition. Also show pictures of some real
11. Then, put both the trays side by side and complete the three period lesson.
12. Pour the water back into the bucket and ask the children to wipe all the trays.
13. Familiarize the children with the names and definitions of other geographical forms in the same way.


3.5 years and onwards

Exercise 2

 A set of ten cards representing major geograohical land and water forms.
 Land and water form trays.


 To associate three dimensional models with two dimensional forms on the card.
 To idirectly prepare the children to identify land and water forms on flat maps.


 Invite a small group of children who have worked with land and water form trays to work with you.
 Ask them to bring land and water form trays.
 Introduce them to the place where the land and water form cards are kept, and ask a child to shift the
 Ask the children to tell you the names and give a brief definition of each model in order to review
previous learning.
 Take out the cards from the box and make a pile with them.
 Select a card and place it front of the child.
 Ask a child to place the card beside the appropriate land and water form tray.
 Continue in the same way and match the remaining cards with the corresponding trays.
 Remove the trays and complete a three period lesson with the cards, taking three at a time.
 At the end ask the children to return the material back to the shelf.

Age: 4 years.


How are children trained to tell time in a Montessori house?


What humans call ‘time’ is an experience grounded in the concrete sensorial world of nature, in observable
patterns of natural phenomena. These patterns are perceived through the body-based senses (sight, touch,
hearing, smell and taste), then organized through reason and the imagination into a mathematical system.
Different groups of humans create different systems for accommodating the patterns called time. These systems
are managed and transmitted as patterns of culture. Time, then, is an aspect of human history and like other
cultural subjects has an important place in a Montessori Children’s House – the same place as botany, zoology,
geography, music, art and any other knowledge organized in the supra-nature.

Our goal is to provide a guide for cultural transmission and establish an accurate and reliable foundation for
aware, deliberate exploration in the Second Plane. As with those other ‘subjects’, we do this best through
concrete, sensorial experience connected with spoken language.

Through true stories, conversation, books, poetry, songs and question games, we can use, introduce and clarify
time-based vocabulary for even the youngest children. In the Mathematics area, an older child learns the
mathematical language needed for ‘telling time’ – such as the counting numbers, their numeric symbols, skip
counting, fractions, and possibly roman numerals. A special material for ‘teaching’ the clock is not necessary –
Three Period Lessons with a working analog clock can introduce hour, minute and second hands, other parts

of the clock, and the mental techniques for translating hand movements, hatch marks and numerals into an
accurate reading of time. This clock can also be a focus for silence activities through which children experience
a minute, two minutes, etc. The preparations which create necessary readiness will determine the appropriate
age for introducing activities related to time. From this perspective, other ideas for exploring a culture’s system
for organizing time will present themselves, and similar explorations can occur around a culture’s calendar.


 A model clock with moveable arms and changeable numerals in a box.

 A series of cards, set of corresponding labels and stand.


To enable the child to know and tell time.

Presentation 1:

1. Invite a small group of children who can count and identify numerals.
2. Familiarize the children with the place where the material is kept, and shift it to workplace with the help
of the children.
3. Point to the empty slot for numbers on the clock face and show how to put the numbers in order one by
one starting with 1.
4. Tell the children that these numbers on the clock face represent hours.

Presentation 2:

1. Ask the child to arrange numerals on the clock.

2. When the children can comfortably arrange number on the clock face from 1 to 12, demonstrate how the
clock arms can move around.
3. Pointing to the short arm say, “This is the short arm. It shows what hours it is.”
4. Move the short arm onto number 1 and say, “one o’clock”.
5. Then ask the child to make different times for you. E.g saying, “Can you please make 6 o’clock for me”.


1. Ask the child to draw various clock faces and label them.
2. When the child has learnt the concept of fraction, introduce half past, quarter past, quarter to, etc.

Age: 4.5 years onwards