Themes and routines play important roles in the life of a Montessori student. Throughout the levels, work becomes more complex, detailed, and demanding, as students reach for different and more challenging works and materials.
Certain Montessori lessons progress through the age levels in very apparent ways, while others are more abstract. One set of lessons that visibly changes in iterations from cycle to cycle is the Montessori Map Work.
Starting in Preschool with the wooden world map, students learn the concepts of land masses and water, by identifying bodies of water and categorizing areas of land. At this level, students begin to familiarize themselves with the world map, developing an understanding of continents and oceans. In KEP, students discern the land masses from the oceans and seas, coloring the individual continents on map outlines provided for them. Students at this level have the ability to manipulate map "puzzles" placing continents and oceans in their respective locations. Students are beginning to learn the
names and locations of different countries around the world, and are excited to move on to the more detailed maps and
activities. Moving to Lower Elementary, students begin drawing their own maps, filling in continents and bodies of water. They also begin to learn the names and locations of countries all over the world with the assistance of more detailed world and regional map "puzzles."
This progression eventually leads to Upper Elementary students capable of identifying a wide range of countries and
capitals throughout the world, as well as the ability to classify land masses and bodies of water of different types. Watching the development of the students' thought processes, alongside the reciprocal development of the learning materials, highlights some of the most beneficial and enjoyable aspects of the Montessori approach.