Montessori Method.

Montessori method is named after the woman who designed the educational pedagogy more than a century ago. Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator. She is known worldwide for her educational method building on the way children learn naturally and holistically. Dr. Montessori opened the first Montessori school called the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in Rome on January 6, 1907.

What is Cosmic Education?

Cosmic Education is the plan Dr. Montessori developed for children at what she called the second plane of development (ages 6 to 12 years old). We commonly refer to the second plane of development as the elementary aged years. The idea of Cosmic Education is to give children a view of the universe and its many dramatic forces. At its root, Cosmic Education tells the story of the interconnectedness of all things. Cosmic Education is a cornerstone of the Montessori philosophy.

Dr. Montessori’s ideas for Cosmic Education developed in the same way her ideas developed for younger children in the Children’s House. She observed older children and began to identify what they were attracted to, how they learned, and what made them interested in working.

Through her observations, Dr. Montessori observed older children interested in working in different ways than their younger counterparts. Along with the work of their hands, elementary children also used their imaginations and reasoning minds to explore their environment.

When thinking about what to offer elementary aged children, Dr. Montessori explored ideas, such as: What is it that makes the interrelationship between all elements of the universe and the life inhabiting the world? What could possibly bring human beings to unity and peace?”

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It is during the elementary years children will begin to see the interrelatedness of all things having to do with the universe. This includes the dramatic creation of its furnishings such as the plants and animals, the arrival of human beings and their continuing story throughout time. Cosmic Education and the Montessori method is the underlying difference to a traditional education.

Why do we try to avoid subject categories?

Because most of us are a product of traditional education, it is important to become aware of some differences in learning and to consciously change our way of thinking about them. Cosmic Education tries not to teach subject matter within separate subjects as is done in traditional school settings. Instead, subjects are interlinked as best as they can be. Moreover, children are not broken down by grade levels. Instead, they are a part of a 6 to 9 classroom (lower elementary) or 9 to 12 classroom (upper elementary). This way, children are exposed to multiple tiers of academics and social interactions all at once.

Another key life skill Montessori children develop is learning to evaluate themselves; to become consciously aware of what they are good at and what they could improve on. If they can learn to honestly and objectively critique themselves, they will know what their strengths are and will be able to share those strengths with others. They will also be able to ask for help when they need it.

This does not mean Montessori children will feel a superiority over others. Along with this key life skill comes the understanding of responsibility, care, and respect for humanity-–a compassionate attitude of service. Our purpose–our goal–is for children to come to a full understanding of this.

How do we stir curiosity within Young Learners? 

The Elementary Guide’s job is to use presentations and stories to open up a new field of exploration to the children. It opens exploration carried out through the reasoning mind and the use of imagination.

It also means, under ideal circumstances, limiting the assignment of worksheets, workbooks, or spelling lists to be memorized. Unrelated items are not of interest to children of this age. The Elementary Guide might instead give a presentation and follow up with suggestions of where to get more materials or give ideas for further research.

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In her own words Dr. Maria Montessori described the Montessori method:

“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core.”

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