When my son entered Montessori elementary, my heart pounded with excitement. Having been trained in Montessori early childhood (which I don't regret for a second), I had heard of the amazing cosmic curriculum. Sure enough, the cosmic curriculum blew my mind away. My son's eyes widened as the director of the program began to explain what his journey would entail that coming year. In short, jealousy enveloped my body! Here is an introduction to Montessori's cosmic curriculum!
“…All things are part of the universe and are connected to each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.” (To Educate the Human Potential, p. 6)
What You Need to Know about Montessori's Cosmic Curriculum
In the first plane of development (from 0-6 years of age), children often ask the question “why” as they transition from subconscious to conscious learning. They are curious about the world around them as they move through sensitive periods, wanting and needing to learn about their environment through their senses.
In the second plane of development (from 6-12 years of age), children begin to ask a different question. “Who am I?” Now that they have explored the physical world around them, the task at hand becomes universal and cosmic. They have more reasoning skills and more of a thirst for the larger picture. They wonder what their place is in the universe.
Montessori Five Great Lessons
Children are presented the five Great Lessons as a part of the cosmic curriculum: The Story of the Universe, The Story of Life, The Story of Humans, The Story of Math, and The Story of Language. Following these impressionistic lessons, children become engrossed in cultural studies: history, geography, astronomy, geology, biology, physical science, and chemistry. They might conduct experiments or research topics of interest, creating presentations for their classmates in the process. The possibilities seem endless.
Another benefit for children in this second plane of development is through “going-out” experiences in the community. As they develop a sense of awe and wonder of the world, excursions present opportunities to meet their curiosity head on. Visiting areas of interest related to their studies is important not only for improving social skills but also for broadening their knowledge within a different setting. As social individuals, learning in the real-world becomes increasingly important.
More about the Author
Maria Burke has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in French from the University of Arizona. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Curriculum Education from Lesley University and holds certification through the American Montessori Society for ages 3-12. She currently teaches upper elementary at Abintra Montessori School in Nashville, Tennessee. Maria also owns Lighthouse Learning, LLC, and creates supplemental educational resources for academic subjects as well as proprioceptive materials.