3-6 History


History is the study of the past. It begins with the present and it looks at what has come before.

For the young child, sense of time can be quite difficult. They have a hard time understanding yesterday and tomorrow. However, most children understand their grandparents and you can relate the past to one of their grandparents. The young child also has difficulty understanding that an adult was once a child. You can therefore discuss how they have a daddy how their daddy is an adult, but that he was once a child. Then discuss how he has a daddy and he too was a child once.

The information in regards to history is given orally and informally during some of the geography Exercises. For example, many of the flag stories can incorporate history of the flag and of the country.

There are many different statements or questions you can ask to have the child begin to think about history. Two examples are:
– The world was not always as it is today…
– A long time ago…there was no electricity.

There are also a few materials and Exercises that go along with history.

History Table

You can have a history table with the items you have discussed in class that relate to history. For example, if you have been talking about how there used to be no electricity, you can discuss what might have been used to give light. You can then have a candle on the history table. This gives the child the opportunity to think about how people did not always live as we do today.

History Cards

These cards will deal with the needs of man (eight needs can be represented). These needs could include: shelter, clothing, work, leisure, and transportation. Each set should have three cards. These will be periods distant enough to show contrast. For example, start with the needs of today. The second set should be images of a period of time distinct enough from today. The third set should be the needs of the people even further back in history. For example, if you were in America, you could do the needs of today, the needs of Colonial times, and the needs of the Indians.


You can also have diagrams. You would place the home country puzzle piece in the center of the mat. You can place images of the different needs of today in a circle around the puzzle piece and discuss them. Later, you can use the second set and place these a little further back from the puzzle piece. Discuss the different from the two times. The third set can be used in the same way and then compared to the other two sets. Other cards can be added as well. This gives the child a visual sense of time and the differences in time.

history diagram montessori

Another diagram is the vertical arrangement. Place, for example, an image of houses from today. Above it place an image from a period a little in the past above the first image. Repeat so the further the cards are from you, the further back in history the images show of housing. You will want to present one set at a time.

One Human Need       Many Human Needs history diagram, montessori 1200’s (Shelter)   history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori 1890’s (Shelter)   history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori Present (Shelter)   history diagram, montessori  history diagram, montessori  history diagram, montessori         Shelter Transportation Clothing


Another diagram is the horizontal arrangement. Start with one set and place the present image on a mat. You will place each of the images to the right of the previous picture.

history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori history diagram, montessori Present (Shelter) 1890’s (Shelter) 1200’s (Shelter)


The measurement of time can be done by the use of a calendar. This shows the days go by which gives them the idea of yesterday and tomorrow. The date can also be discussed. It is therefore important to have a calendar that can be used to mark the passing of time and the date for each day the children are in school.

Months of the Year

Another exercise will be to have material to show the cycle of months throughout the year. This can be through the use of different images that show the different months of the year. A different picture should be used for each month. You can teach the names of the months and using the picture, you can discuss the particulars of each month. Remember that each child has a special month in relation to his birthday! You can then teach the order of the months by using labels, which go with the pictures. Once finished teaching the months of the year, you can show the child a long strip of paper and have them mount pictures of each month in the correct order with the names of each underneath. Place the labels of the months in order and then unroll the strip to check the child’s work. As a further activity, put away the loose cards an labels and using the long strip of paper, show the child that the year is a cycle of time and that once December ends, January begins. This can be done by standing the strip on its side and make it into a cylinder. Games can then be played with this. For example, have the child point to the month when they have their birthday. Have them then find the month of the current date. Ask the child, “In how many months until your birthday?” They can then count the months until their next birthday. This can be done with any special even.

Days of the Week

This is done in a similar fashion as with the Months of the Year.


The hours are taught first. Begin by looking at the clock face and note the numbers that represent the numbers of a day. Then note the hands, the long hand and the short hand. Discuss what each means. The short hand always points to the hours and the long hand points to the minutes. Discuss how when it is exactly the hour, the long hand points up and the short hand points to the exact hour of the day. When the child can find and make the hours you dictate, you can show him minutes beyond the hour. All of these lessons should be taught with a Three-Period Lesson. For independent work, you can make cards for the child to use and a clock faces stamp, decide on a time to make and have him write it in numerals. Then he can draw in the hands on the clock face. The child can also draw pictures of what he does at specific hours of the day. You can also show the cycle of the day as in the Months of the Year.

Personal Timeline

The child can create a personal timeline with the numbers 1 – 5 (or however old he is) and draw what he was doing at each specific age.


The Events Board is a good idea for birthday celebration. Before dismissal, you can also sing happy birthday to that child. It is important to not let the parents interrupt the classroom because it can be disturbing to the classroom environment.