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Montessori: Map Work Board book – July 15, 2014
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Each two-page spread focuses on one continent - its good to only see one at a time. However it still gives a lot of world map context (A smaller map in bottom right shows which continent you are in... in relation to which continent is covered next.) The tactile sandpaper feel around the edges of the continent are nice but not scratchy enough for my tastes. I like they are not indented into the page as that tends to lead to paper cuts.
The main "con" others post are that the book colors do not match the color coding used in the Montessori classroom.... In my opinion, this is actually a VERY GOOD THING. Let me explain my reasoning (as an educator who has taught 2 year olds through college). It is VERY important that kids be able to see that things are the same regardless of color. An apple is an apple whether its yellow, green, or red. A bird is a bird because it has certain features like a bill/beak, feathers, lays eggs, etc. not because of its color. So we should want kids to know that Asia is Asia by its shape, location on a world map, cultures, ecosystems, etc... Classification and discrimination skills are essential to long term success in life, school, and in careers, so it is important that kids are taught to focus on essential characteristics for an object and frankly arbitrary country colors is not one of them. I like a lot of Montessori ideas, but I take ALL educational philosophies under the microscope and the color coding part is way too rigid for true learning to occur. Too often kids get questions right if you use the same color coding, because kids are remembering the colors NOT the content. Others may disagree with my opinion, and that is fine - we each can choose to teach our children differently. I just felt that the book is getting a far worse rap than it really deserved.
This is my favorite of the three books in the series it is a hardboard type book that is perfect for younger children. The last page folds out to show a full map of the world which is really neat. The book shows the continent along with animals that are from each continent. It then shows at the bottom where we are going on the next page.
The book is nice colors and catches the attention of my little one. He loves looking at it and I can't wait to start teaching him.