If you are the parent of a Primary student, you may hear them talking about going to different continents. That is because in their class, one of the lessons they are being introduced to are Puzzle Maps.
Starting with the map of the world and progressing through continents and then countries, the puzzle maps showcase the difference between land and water, and help to develop an appreciation for spatial awareness. How far is Asia from South America? Is South America closer to Europe, or Oceania?
After the Map of the World, a child might engage with Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, North America, or Africa. These continent maps include pegged pieces to represent every country on that continent. After taking the pieces out and putting them back together, a natural control of error occurs if the pieces don’t all fit correctly!
The pegged puzzle pieces, which are used in most Montessori classrooms, have a secondary purpose as well. When a child grips the pegs, it’s actually preparing his or her hand to use a pencil. The pegs help to refine a child’s fine motor control, and will make the transition to holding a pencil that much smoother.