Cosmic Education the Montessori Way

by Amanda Edmondson, Head of School

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct her own experiments.”–Maria Montessori

Montessori is a philosophy of education which integrates the child’s planes of development into the materials, design of the classroom, and the structure of each day.  In our Elementary classroom through the somewhat drastic shift from the concrete lessons of Primary to a classroom with a spiraling curriculum supported by Cosmic Education, we see Montessori’s gift as a educator to meet the child at their developmental plane.
Developmentally, a child of 6 begins to start looking at the greater world and their role within it. They are full of big questions about how the world was made and the whys of everyday things. Cosmic Education at its core revolves around the Five Great Lessons (see image below).  It is through these stories that the teacher is able to open up the imagination and investigation of a child’s mind. The Stories aren’t ones of which tie up neatly at the end….rather are stories which leave the student with material upon which to hypothesis, experiment, investigate.
The First Great Lesson, The Story of the Universe, begins each school year at TMS and sets the tone for exploration into our world. It involves the use of a balloon and glitter and stars in a dark room to tell the story of the beginning of the universe. This lesson also includes some demonstrations using solids and liquids to show how the continents and oceans first came together. As the graphic displays, each story is a framework for great instruction.
The children get to listen to a story of early cave drawings and hieroglyphics and then be encouraged to think about their own writing and what story they would like to leave behind for centuries from which future peoples will read and learn. It is our goal to show them what they have to offer the world and in turn giving their education meaning.
Want to learn more?
Paula Polk Lillard’s book Montessori Today
“If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying. The child’s mind then will no longer wander, but becomes fixed and can work. The knowledge he then acquires is organized and systematic; his intelligence becomes whole and complete because of the vision of the whole that has been presented to him, and his interest spreads to all, for all are linked and have their place in the universe on which his mind is centred.…  A great curiosity arises, which can never be satiated; so will last through a lifetime.”   ~ Maria Montessori 
tmswebCosmic Education the Montessori Way