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Elementary – grades 1, 2, 3
Posted By nkmcadmin On April 4, 2011 @ 1:18 pm In | Comments Disabled
A true Montessori Elementary program is unique. All the subjects one would expect to be part of the curriculum are there: Language, Math, the sciences, etc., but the environment, materials, and methods set Montessori apart from other educational models. A Montessori elementary class room “looks” distinctive because of these differences. What is even more intriguing is the philosophy behind the methodology. In the 6-9 Montessori curriculum, the students are presented with materials that are large in scope, open to discussion, and awe-inspiring. The lessons are often presented as stories. The work may involve demonstrations and experiments, and the underlying message is that everything in the universe is interrelated and has a purpose. This is Cosmic Education, one of the cornerstone tenets of Montessori education for the elementary student.
Cosmic Education tells the story of the universe, the history of the Earth, and the story of humans. These stories, told in a dramatic and illustrative way, make an impression on the child that encourages imagination and wonder. Children begin to study Geography, Geology, Botany, and Zoology in order to place these stories in the context of the natural world around them. The curriculum is academically challenging, but developmentally appropriate for the young child.
The “Great Lessons” are the stories that are presented to the children in an Elementary program. They include “God with No Hands”, “The Story of Life”, “The Coming of Humans”, “The Story of Language”, and “The Story of Numbers”. This way of presenting history, as a continuing creative event rather than a static, stale story of the past, highlights the cosmic dimension of the 6-9 Montessori curriculums. The stories deliberately avoid the viewpoint of any single religious faith, as Montessori herself believed that education should be the path towards uniting humanity, not dividing it.
The Cultural subjects and the Academic subjects are connected and intertwined in the Elementary curriculum. This cultural curriculum is supported and enhanced by the study of Language (including French), Geometry, and Mathematics. Montessori asserts that the idea of the universe as presented in Cosmic Education provides a solid foundation for further learning. The study of language permits further exploration by reading and expression of one’s own impressions and experiences through writing. By studying math and geometry the child has a new appreciation for numbers and the astounding perfection of the universe.
“Therefore, speak to everyone of the child and of his secret; proclaim him for what he is; the father of man, the builder of humanity, the creative and transforming energy which can act on the hearts of men and can offer new elements for the solution of social problems.” —Maria Montessori
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