In a regular Montessori environment, there's an area of the room dedicated to Geography. In it, one finds globes, puzzle maps, pictures of foreign countries and people, land and water forms, etc. It's a sequence that spans the entirety of the 3 years the child spends in the Primary (ages 3-6) classroom.
The very first presentation is done using a Sandpaper Globe, on which the water is painted blue, and the land is covered in sandpaper.
Very simply, the teacher touches every inch of the surface proclaiming, "This is land" or "This is water" as appropriate. Upon the regular course of lessons, it would lead to exploration of continents and countries, both geographically and culturally.
Likewise, in our Sunday School environment, we have an area of the room dedicated to Geography. It's much less extensive, focusing mostly on Israel as it was at the time of Christ, but we begin in the same place - with the Sandpaper Globe.
After showing the child all of the "land" and "water", we bring their attention to a tiny red dot on the land: "This is Israel." There's so much land, and Israel is just a tiny little dot.
Soon after, we introduce the child to the raised map of Israel and then to the Puzzle Map of Israel.
All of this work is meant to give the child a place to put the geographical references spoken of in the Gospel Readings. Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth in Galilee. Christ is born in Bethlehem of Judea. Christ goes to the city of Jerusalem. Christ is baptized in the Jordan River. With this work, we begin to show them that these places are real places, that Christ truly walked here among men as man.
|The Sandpaper Globe. |
Israel is marked with a tiny red dot (though I think it's a little south of where it really should be).
|The Relief Map of Israel.|
|The Relief Map of Israel with picture labels for Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Children as young as 3 - 4 can tell you which is which.|
|An upside-down (sorry) picture of the Puzzle Map of Israel.|
|The Puzzle Map of Israel with written labels for Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. An extension of this work is labeling every part of the map (i.e. Jordan River, Dead Sea, Perea, Judea, Galilee, Samaria, Sea of Galilee, Mediterranean Sea).|