How does a child understand the vastness of the universe? How does he discover the beginning of everything? How did life come to Earth? What about the journey of mankind from primitive man to modern times?
These are all important questions and big thoughts! A child wonders about who he is in regard to all of these big questions.
Montessori elementary provides a unique and special series of lessons designed to provide the student with connectivity to his world. These are called “The Five Great Lessons”. The uniqueness of these lessons is the enhancement of the elementary child’s understanding of the universe around him.
The goal: to guide the child toward an initial examination of “who am I?”
Dr. Montessori believed that “The stars, earth, stones, life of all kinds form a whole in relation with each other, and so close is this relation that we cannot understand a stone without some understanding of the great sun! No matter what we touch, an atom, or a cell, we cannot explain it without knowledge of the wide universe…”. She believed that the history of the world needs to come alive for a child. It is the job of the educator to ignite the spark of the imagination and to encourage an interest and understanding of the universe, plants and animals, man, and the many individuals who contributed to the world as we know it today.
In Montessori elementary, we want to inspire the child to think, question, inquire and possess the confidence in himself to share his ideas and opinions with others.
The environment of the elementary Montessori classroom should be one of self-direction.
The Montessori curriculum gives a vision of the Universe and focuses on the interconnectedness of all life.
We are teaching for LIFE, not for an achievement test.
The Five Great Lessons are meant to be compelling stories that illustrate the power of the universe as well as the strength of the human potential. These Great Lessons are meant to create lasting impressions in the child’s imagination in order to give the child a springboard on which to ask more questions and research topics of interest more deeply.
The Great Lessons are meant to show the child that there are infinite subjects to learn about.
The Montessori elementary curriculum starts each year with these Five Great Lessons. This, in turn, sets the stage for the study of zoology, botany, astronomy, biology, history, geography, and humanity.
In the six to twelve year old child’s developmental stage, he is exploring his own independence as well as trying to understand who he is amongst others. The child thinks about matters that surround him. The child’s search for the meaning of life is just beginning.
Ultimately, the Montessori elementary student will be presented with “the keys to the Universe” as he navigates through his elementary years. This allows the child to think and ponder himself: who am I and why am I here?