Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Land of Israel

This morning in the atrium I presented a 'the land of Israel' work. It is a relief map of Israel from Jesus' day. This lesson follows the lesson about the earth, that in all the whole wide world, God chose one small place for his son, Jesus, to be born. This place is Israel. The relief map shows the Mediterranean Sea, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee and three important cities: Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. 

This work is part of the Biblical Geography lessons. The purpose is to help the child realize that Jesus was a real man who lived in a real place. It gives the children a sense of where the stories of Jesus' life take place.

To be honest, it has been through making and teaching about these lessons that I have received the gift of insight into the life of Jesus as a child and adult. 

The children now have a sense of the journey of Mary and Joseph when they travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem when they hear the Christmas story. They understand where Jerusalem is in relation to the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee when they hear the stories of Jesus' life....especially when hearing about his death and resurrection.

It is amazing to me how something made from paper mache, paint and a tray can deliver such a powerful message.

What you can do at home: Continue to look at maps and globes with your child. As you read the stories out of a children's Bible with your child, look to see where Israel is located as compared to Pennsylvania. Talk about the things you love about where we live and the things that are special in other lands. Compare and contrast our culture with others. Marvel with your child about the amazing differences God created for all of us!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Land and Water Globe

What a cold, rainy weekend! What I like about these days are how cozy they make me feel indoors. There really isn't anything that can be done outside so I focus on the house: cleaning, cooking and reading. I hope you have some rainy day rituals.

This week in the atrium our group lesson was focused on the world. The above material is called the Land and Water Globe or the Sandpaper Globe. It is one of the few materials that is used in the atrium that is also used in the Montessori classroom. The way it is used is a little different, however.

In the atrium we show the children the globe, teach them how to hold it carefully by the base and allow them to feel the two textures (rough for the land, smooth for the water). We discuss the fact that a globe is a model of the earth. We know that God created the whole earth and that it is very, very large. We then take time to notice the little red dot on the globe. We tell the children that in the whole wide world that God created, he chose a very small, tiny particular place for His son to be born. 

We then talk about how wonderful it is that God chose this place for Jesus to be born, how wonderful it is that Jesus, a real person, lived on this earth and that the place God chose for him to live must be very special, very holy.

This is the first of the geography lessons. We teach geography to help the children understand that Jesus was a real person who lived in a real place that still exists today. It is often difficult for children at this level to understand history. The geography lessons set the stage for the stories of Jesus' life that we will begin to teach in the next few months. The physical materials assist in helping solidify these very difficult concepts.

What you can do at home: Use maps and photos and books of places all over the world to help your child learn that God made different types of people who live in different places but He loves us all! Children are fascinated with different cultures, their customs, holidays, dress and food. They enjoy seeing how people who look so different do many things in the same way they themselves do!