Yesterday, I introduced the children to our new continent: Australia. I set up 2 main baskets on our geography unit: one representing the landmarks of Australia and one depicting the animals living on the continent. I also placed the Australian flag on the unit counter as well as books about the continent in question.
(It is quite funny to observe children walking in the classroom in the morning: no matter what you have changed, removed or added in the setting, they will spot it staright away and they are automatically drawn to the new activity or the new material!!)
At circle time, I used the 3 part cards about animals. I have information written in the back of each picture and I read it to them as we discovered the animals living in Australia. I then read them the story about how koalas got a stumpy tail (it's only a legend but the book actually gives lots of acurate facts about the animals mentioned in the story).
But I have to say that my favourite book is Sail Away, The Ballad of Skip & Nell by Mem Fox. We've been reading about the story two delightful little dingoes who started a rather long journey around Australia, in search of a boat race. This story is a great introduction to Australian Geography and Australian Animals and it ties the 2 baskets I have introduced SO well. It takes us to nearly every state and territory in Australia. What more do you want. And along the way, we discover new animals living in Australia!!
Later on, I showed the children how to use the 3 part cards with the plastic animals I got from The Land Down Under Toob. They first start by matching the cards to the booklet I made.
Then, they find the corresponding written name of the animals (great pre-reading skills even for non-readers).
Finally, the children can match the platic toy animals to the pictures.
Of course, the children are also allowed to use the animals just for fun!!!
Next, I introduce the children to the Australian landmarks 3-part cards. Same principle. I added a twist by collecting a few postcards and asking the children to match them up to the right picture card! I wish I had a lot more postcards but this will do for now.
So, this is what the children are learning about at the moment. Later on, I will add fun facts and pictures about Australia as well as pictures about aboriginee art (cave painting, dot painting et..). My Australia continent box is an on-going project and apart from a few postcards, a few coins and my plastic animals, I actually do not have many items.
And just inc case some of you ask, I can't even remember where I got the 3-part cards. My guess? Montessori Tidbits. I apologise if I am wrong (please send me a message to correct me I am referring to the wrong person!). However, if you are looking for more stuff, check it on Montessori for Everyone (they have brilliant and affordable continent kits there.) I hope this helps. Keep in touch!