The following is the text from this section of the 2009-2010 edition of The Joyful Child, Montessori from Birth to Three
To see other sections of this publication return to: http://www.michaelolaf.com/JCcontents.html
AGE 1-3, CULTURE
What does not exist in the cultural environment will not develop in
the child. - Dr. Shinnichi Suzuki
Today the world is becoming a small community, and the attitudes toward
those people who have different skin color, language, foods, and songs
are more important than ever. These attitudes begin to be formed in the
first years of life, as the child absorbs the feelings in the home or
We can foster a healthy and loving introduction to the cultures of the
world by providing, whenever possible, exposure to a variety of music,
food, songs, clothing, celebrations, dances, houses, languages, means
of transportation, toolsin the home and in the community. In large
cities this is an easy task; just walk around downtown and you will hear
the accents and languages, smell the food, even sometimes find the dances
and the songs.
But even if we live out in the country it is possible to experience the
music through tapes and CD's, and to cook the foods and explore through
books. Through such simple and casual introductions children come to understand
that all humans have similar needs and experiences. Repetition of exposure
and opportunities for conversations on culture can be provided by picture
books at this age.
This is the time of the "absorbent mind," the age when a child
literally becomes all of the impressions taken in from the environment,
it is the time to casually introduce these experiences, not with lessons
or lectures, but experientially and sensorially. Use the real names of
the food, songs, tools, so the child builds up a vocabulary to match her
experiences. Later she will build on these early impressions to make sense
of the history and cultures of the world.
Why not have the first balls be globes? Large and small soft globe balls
are favorites in Montessori communities, not for formal lessons, just
for practice rolling and throwing a ball. The shapes of the geographical
features will become familiar to the child and make studying geography
later like coming back to an old friend.
Near the end of the third year it is a good idea to have a real globe
and/or a wall map of the world in the home so reference to places can
be made in a tangible, physical way for the child. The child will not
understand the scope of space and distance, but will be interested in
the colors and shapes and in attaching names to them: "Africa,"
"Indiana," "The Amazon," etc.
Eventually the real globe or map should be kept in view in the family
area, rather than in the child's room, so it will be seen as a real piece
of important equipment used by the whole family.
Click here to forward this page to friends
© Susan Mayclin Stephenson, 2010 (www.susanart.net)
Permission to reprint or link to a website is granted if these words are include:
"Shared with permission of The Joyful Child Montessori Company: www.thejoyfulchild.us"