Questions About Teaching Oceania
My first post on Oceania has got lots of interaction and I thought it would be appropriate to answer a few common reactions or questions I have recieved.
My manual teaches Australia so thats what I teach.
I appreciate your desire to stay true to Montessori. Montessori's teaching are not holy scripture nor did she know everything about everything in the world. When we teach about the country of Australia we miss out the richness of the surrounding countries and territories and children miss out learning about the very real impact of climate change on peoples homes.
My puzzle map for North America doesn't have all the countries in the Ocean or the little countries and I have never heard THEM complain!
You raise some interesting points. I wonder if the voice of people from those countries is given space to be heard? If this is a pattern on Montessori maps perhaps we need to lobby the companies to ensure the maps are more inclusive? When we only present maps or resources to students that highlight the big things we implicitly teach that nuance, difference and inclusivity are not a priority.
Australia is the continent and Oceania or Australiasia is the region. I teach the continents! I want to keep fidelity to the true Montessori ethos.
Do you teach about the 8th continent of Zealandia too? Why or Why not?
When do you teach about The Pacific Islands? Does your teaching amplify the voices of the Global Majority?
Continents are geological land masses BUT Montessori has its one of its core aims to educate the whole child. Many continent studies done in Montessori are done with the idea that the child will then have a good idea of the places, people and life in the world. What happens though when we miss out a load of people because we are keeping to the continents?
Would it take much to simply explain that while "Australia" may technically be a continent studying the whole area is important?
I teach about Oceania later.
I have heard from some readers that they teach children aged 3-6 about Australia the continent and then propose that the child will learn about Oceania when they are older, e.g. elementary age. What happens though if the child doesn't go to Montessori 6-12 and get exposed to these ideas? Do you think this idea works when applied to a child in the Pacific? Would you be fine with me leaving the place your child lives out of my teaching and classoom?
On a related note, this company, which states that '[it's] 'manuals are used by many prestigious training centers in the USA and around the world' does not mention Oceania in its Elementary Geography folder I or 2, perhaps it is part of the 'Islands of Australia' section which is a sub section of different landforms in different continents? Let me know if I am wrong! So the idea about "teaching it later" doesn't really sit well with me, especially if people are religiously sticking to their manuals.
How do you teach about the Continents then?
I try not to over use the continent word and use the words area or region when I present information about different areas in the world. As I am based in Oceania/Zealandia I do teach a lot about the surrounding territories and countries and also the ocean as it is very important to people in this area. I don't have the traditional "Australia" map (sometimes unscrupously sold as an Oceania map). I have a true Oceania Map. I use this bundle to teach about places in Oceania.
I've seen Montessori materials and printables for sale that say Oceania on them should I use those?
Only if they are truly inclusive of the region. Some sellers are selling Oceania resources that are actually just about the country of Australia and have limited or no mention of the Pacific Islands. Make sure to look at previews and ask questions of the seller. We're biased but recommend these ones, bonus, they are made by someone from Oceania!