History and Geography are very important subjects which should be central to the education of our children. Unfortunately until quite recently these subjects were effectively removed or watered down in both primary and secondary curriculum.
In the Montessori setting though, these subjects form a very important part of the Nursery Curriculum (3 to 6 years) as part of the Cultural Subjects Area of study and in the Primary Curriculum (6 to 12 years) as part of the Cosmic Education Area.
In the 3 to 6 years Cultural subjects we tend to use this area to introduce the child to their environment and world as a whole, looking at the animals (zoology), plants (botany), classification and characteristics of basic matter around us (science), basic world characteristics, its continents and countries (geography) and stories about people from our past (history).
Cultural subjects meets the needs the child in helping them to understand their environment and world. It is a concrete introduction which they need at the very beginning of their education. Children at this age need to learn and want to learn about their world, it needs to be realistic and true, but age appropriate. They do not need fairy tale versions neither do they need a vacuum which is what we create by giving them no insight into the existence of the world, country or continents and oceans. This is the time when they are ready and able to seamlessly absorb this information.
When the child enters the Primary school age between 6 and 12 years they are ready for more. Give them the opportunities to explore and discover the world and research to their hearts content what interests them.
Children have a deep need to be valued, they also need to see the value of their past ancestors, what mankind has been able to achieve, where we started from and how far we have come. This gives them a lift to help them start thinking of what value they are going to add to their community, family, school and later on nation and the world.
This is where it starts! If we refuse to teach our children geography and history there is no progress in being able to transform our education from what do you want to be to what do you want to change and help us achieve when you get older.
Geography and History are subjects that are needed to help us prepare our children for the future work they will have to do. The 21st Century skill sets we want to impart surprisingly for most actually starts here. Let them know the past, see the progress and mistakes of humanity so that they can create and think from a position of knowledge. There is so much we can do with this, watch this space as Addlo Montessori School House shows us how to get there…