This week, our classroom has been busy with learning the new classroom layout and materials, language and math assessments, and most importantly, the first Great Lessons. Dr. Montessori coined the term, "Cosmic Education" to describe the lessons for grades 1-6. This is because all subjects, including art, and music, are integrated with history, science, reading, and math, and the lessons are designed to nurture appreciation for the cosmos, and help children discover their role in the world, or cosmic task.
The first Great Lesson is known as the creation story, or "God with no Hands" This lesson is designed to help children gain an appreciation for the size of the universe and the scope of the changes that occurred in forming the earth. I always use the disclaimer that there are many creation stories from many different cultures and that even different scientists have varying theories. This lesson is not meant to be taken literally as much as its purpose is to ignite interest in the world, universe, and other living things. Maria Montessori wrote this story in a way to combine her scientific and spiritual beliefs in a way to spark children's interest in future lessons in science, history, geography, language, and math. You can see a similar version to her original story here.
The next great lessons include, the Coming of Life, the Coming of Human Beings, Early Humans, the History of Language and History of Math. In addition to opening doors to future learning, the lessons are designed to create an appreciation for those who came before us, or in other words, those who paved the way for the future we enjoy today. We may not know who harnessed fire, or who developed the first alphabet, but we must be grateful for those unnamed people whose discoveries contributed to future innovations. We explore these stories to create a desire within each child to do what they can to make the world a better place for their future. More information on Cosmic Education and the Great Lessons can be found here.