Cultural curriculum is one of the most important curriculums in the Montessori classroom. It includes botany, zoology, science, geography, and history. You may wonder how young children can understand such a deep subject. Maria Montessori always compared the child’s mind to a sponge. The “sponge” keeps absorbing the information from the surrounding environment. Young children's unique aptitude for learning is identified by Maria Montessori as an “absorbent mind”. This “absorbent mind” is eager and ready to learn everything around them.
The way we teach young children Cultural begins from the “Whole” to the “Parts”. Children first learn about the name of the planet that we live on. We teach them the three important elements on the Earth: Land, Air, Water. After they understand the three elements on the Earth, they learn to categorize “living” and “nonliving” things on the Earth. They also learn to categorize “animals” and “plants”. These are the “Whole” of the Cultural lesson. Starting from here, we extend their Cultural learning to the more detailed journeys----the “Parts”.
In botany, children will learn the parts of the plant, and life cycle of the plant. We observe how the plant is growing and we discuss how we can take care of the plant.
In zoology, children will learn the five animal kingdoms. We teach the children the names of the body parts of the animals and children will also learn the life cycle of the animals. In the month of March, we even had a butterfly kit in each classroom. Children observed the caterpillar hatch from the egg, grow bigger, form chrysalis, and turn into beautiful butterflies.
In science, children will explore different science concepts by doing little science experiments, eg. sink or float, magnetic or non-magnetic, water cycle,etc.
In geography, children learn the names of the continents by using the world map puzzles. We teach them different land and water forms.
In history, children learn the calendars. They understand the passage of time. We also celebrate each child’s birthday in the Montessori way which reflects the unique growing journey of each child.
All the Cultural learnings are integrated with concrete Montessori materials. As we know that, the hands are the tools for children to learn, especially in early childhood years. Cultural learning helps children understand their surrounding world and develops their critical thinking skills.