The Montessori Method of education is an eccentric and unconventional pedagogical tool developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907.
The Montessori Method of education incorporates a diverse range of unique concepts that promote holistic development in children.
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the education of a developing mind should not be limited to the classroom, the educator, or the child.
Education for the developing minds should act as a “vision of the whole universe” (Clio 1989 p 5 – 6).
In the Second Plane of Development, the child begins to explore new horizons and opportunities to develop an intimate understanding of the world.
During the Second Plane of development, the Montessori Method of Education promotes a curriculum that facilitates cognitive and social development.
Cosmic Education in the Montessori Method is described as a pathway through which the child develops a global vision.
The Cosmic Education curriculum integrates the five great lessons that allow children to comprehend the interconnectedness of the world and their place in the universe.
The Great Lessons in Montessori are a deep and complex part of the Montessori Cosmic Education curriculum.
If you are a parent, educator, or an immediate caregiver, keep reading to gain more insight into the Montessori Great Lessons.
What is Cosmic Education?
Cosmic Education is referred to as the cornerstone of the Montessori Method of education.
Cosmic Education provides developing minds with a vivid image of the universe and helps them comprehend their place in the universe and the interconnectedness of all the objects that are integrated into the universe.
The Montessori Method incorporates this comprehensive, resolute, and holistic aspect of education to encompass the child’s overall development in the context of the universe.
The attempts to endeavor the answer related to the universe, the child might also lead to the path of “cosmic task” to contribute to a prosperous future.
What are the Great Lessons in Montessori?
The Montessori Great Lessons also referred to as Montessori stories are an integral part of the Montessori Cosmic Education curriculum.
These bold and exciting Montessori Great lessons allow children to develop an intimate understanding of the universe, and provide them with a “big picture” of the world.
The Montessori Great Lessons are often integrated into the Montessori Lower Elementary curriculum.
There are in total of Five Montessori Great Lessons that are introduced to the child in sequential order following the timeline of the history of the universe.
By following the timeline from prehistoric to the early human evolution, and development children are able to build a comprehensive view of the world.
The Great Lessons of Cosmic Education incorporate 5 impressionistic lessons that are theatrical in nature and leave a great impression on the children.
Each of the 5 lessons is integrated into the Montessori Elementary curriculum. All the Lessons follow the Storytelling medium to help inculcate the lessons in the child’s mind.
What are the principles of Montessori’s Great Lessons?
The term “cosmic education” is often perplexing to parents who are not fully acquainted with Montessori Philosophy.
Most associate cosmic education to be a course based on aliens or science fiction stories, but it is far from that.
Contrary to the misconceptions, The Montessori Great Lessons are scientific and strategic lessons that allow children to understand the universe and their place in the universe.
There are no color-coated tales, myths, and abstract ideas that may confuse the child, the Montessori Great lessons promote children to learn about the way of the universe from the beginning.
Another principle of the Great five lessons in Montessori is the storytelling method where the concepts are represented as epic or mythological characters.
The use of metaphors, similes, and other literary devices are used to embellish the stories as well as allow children to comprehend the concepts faster.
It is important to keep the child alert and engaged while incorporating Montessori Great Lessons.
The child should willingly and intuitively able to grasp the concepts being taught during the primary stages of the lessons.
With enough exposure to new concepts, the child is later able to develop skills required to comprehend complex, abstract, analytical, as well as mathematical concepts.
When divided into five separate sections, the initial three lessons incorporated into the Montessori Great Lessons are based on “hard science” or the creation of the universe, life, and human life.
While the last two lessons of the Montessori Great Lessons help children comprehend the development of philosophy, arts, and sciences.
The First Montessori Great Lesson: The Coming of the Universe and the Earth
The First Lesson of Cosmic Education or the Montessori great Lessons is dramatic, theatrical, and exciting just like the universe itself.
This lesson is presented by the storytelling medium where the guide explains how the Universe came to be.
Numerous materials are used to elaborate on the vastness of time. Materials like The Clock of Eons signify time whereas the Black Strip signifies the human history on the planet.
The first Montessori Lesson incorporates the following concepts to help children build an understanding of the universe and the planet earth:
- Astronomy: The solar system, planets, galaxies, stars, constellations, and comets
- Meteorology: Weather, winds, currents, clouds, erosions, water cycles, and glaciers
- Physics: Experimentation, gravity, light, energy, sound, motion, and friction
- Chemistry: periodic tables, atoms, elements, matters, compounds, and molecules
- Geography: Maps, Globes, Latitudes, Longitudes, continents, and countries
- Geology: Lad forms, plate tectonics, ears of earth, ice ages, and landforms
The Second Great Lesson: The Coming of Life
The Second Lesson is often approached with intense enthusiasm where the children bring out their love for animals.
The educator utilizes a material called the “Timeline of Life” that beautifully depicts the evolution of the planet from the Paleozoic age to contemporary time.
Charts and images of microorganisms, animal species, and plants are used to help the child visualize the coming of life.
The Second Great Lesson in Montessori incorporates the following concepts to help the child identify living organisms in the universe:
- Botany: Plant study, classification, functions, seeds, fruits, and types of plants
- Biology: cell structure, organized groups, use of the microscope, observation, and dissection
- Animals: classification of animals, needs, differences, types, humans, hygiene, and nutrition.
- Ancient Life: Different ages on earth, evolution, fossils, extinction, and excavation.
- Habitats: Characteristics, classification, types, location, ecosystem, symbiosis, chains, webs, and conservation.
- Microorganisms: Fungi, Monera, and Protista classification, types
The Third Montessori Great Lesson: The Coming of Humans
During the third Montessori Great Lesson, the child develops a deep sense of gratitude towards the humans who came before them.
Children learn about Timelines of Early Humans, anthropoids, early hominids, and early civilizations.
Children are able to understand the three gifts humans are provided with i.e., mind to imagine, hands to work, and a heart that holds the capability to love.
Here is a list of concepts integrated into the Third Great Lesson in Montessori to help the child understand Human Evolution:
- History: Prehistoric, timelines, world history, civilizations, history of countries and continents
- Culture: philosophers, philosophies, artists, musicians, composers, writes, religion, grace, and customs
- Social Study: events, economics, government, and volunteering
- Discovery: scientific advances, inventions, methods, and machines
The Fourth Montessori Great Lesson: The Story of Writing
The fourth Montessori Great Lesson acquaints the child with the evolution of language and writing as we know it.
This lesson helps children conceptualize the development of knowledge from historic times to the current trends.
The children learn about early writing techniques like ancient scripts, hieroglyphs, symbols, images, pictographs, early alphabets, cuneiforms, and various languages from around the world.
The Fourth Montessori Great Lesson incorporates the following concepts to help the child develop an understanding of the evolution of language and writing:
- Reading: poetry, myths, folk tales, non-fiction, literature, reading comprehension, literary analysis, and literary terms.
- Writing: styles, elements, composition, tone, voice, function, research, and skills
- Language: the origin of language, different languages, history of language, speech, and drama
- Structure: grammar, punctuations, alphabets, semantics, sentence structure, word study, and figures of speech
The Fifth Montessori Great Lesson: The Story of Numbers
During the Fifth Montessori Great Lesson, children are able to learn about different discoveries of complex and abstract mathematical concepts made by different mathematicians and scholars.
This lesson helps children understand the history of the initial stages of numeric systems from all around the world.
Children are able to learn about the different numeric systems, numbers, currencies, and, decimal systems throughout history.
The Fifth Great Lesson in Montessori incorporates the following concepts to help the child comprehend the history of numbers:
- Numbers: the origin of numbers, numeric systems, types of numbers, scientific notations, classification, and bases
- Mathematics: equations, operations, fractions, decimals, squares, cubes, percentages, probability, ratios, and an introduction to algebra
- Geometry: Nomenclature of lines, angles, shapes, congruency, solids, measurements, and theorems
- Mathematical operations: measurements, problem-solving, story solving, graphs, patterns, estimation, money, and rounding.
What are the takeaways of Montessori Great Lessons?
Essentially Montessori Great Lessons or Montessori Stories are cohesive tales that allow children to develop an understanding of the way of the world.
Covering a diverse variety of concepts such as mathematics, culture, evolutions, sciences, and language, Montessori Great Lessons promote your child to take a deep dive into the history of the universe as we know it.
But the benefits of these stories go beyond being exciting tales for children, they are an efficient way of actualizing complex and arbitrary concepts.
Montessori’s Great Lessons are fun of opening new doors for children, promoting them to celebrate different cultures and religions from around the globe, and applicate the universe they live in.