We must tear out our hearts, cleanse them of prejudices and begin again so that the theory and the practice are one and the same. But there must be faith that the theory is really true in order to apply it, to put it into practice. We must believe that all beings develop by themselves, of themselves, and that we cannot do better than to not interrupt that development. We must confess to ourselves that the psychic life of man is full of surprises for us.
— Maria Montessori, The California Lectures of Maria Montessori, 1915

Human beings are born with certain potentials, which respond to the environment in which individuals find themselves. Human beings can live and grow in any conditions that they find – Hot deserts, humid forests, and vast plains. Human beings are unique, because they are able to adapt to almost any situation.

For optimal self-construction to occur, children need a community. Human beings are social by their nature, and we know that children learn by absorbing information from their environments. It is this self-construction that occurs within a particular society and setting that leads not only to adaptation, but to the development of specific preferences. It was Montessori's hope that once the child had adapted to a particular culture, adaptation would continue. The next step in an individual's adaptation is adaptation to the human community. Individuals who take this crucial step have the potential to profoundly change our world - leading to a more peaceful and harmonious world, which was one of Montessori's objectives.

The support of self-construction, Montessori discovered, was not so much in our direct interactions with children as it was in our work to provide an environment that supported each child's efforts to self-construct. The environment alone was not enough, however. Montessori also discovered that the children must be given the freedom to work spontaneously in this prepared environment if they are to achieve maximum development.

We give aid to life. Our objective is the support of the total development of each child. Our curriculum and methods are based upon the changing nature of the child across the years of development. Our role is that of servant to the child: we prepare and maintain the environment and link the children to it by giving presentations. Then, we stand back and allow the children to work - moving forward only to introduce a new aspect of the environment, or to assist when the children request that we do so. As servants, we also serve as models for the children, and one of our hopes that the children with whom we work will one day decide that it is time for them to serve.

 
 
The child’s work is nothing more or less than man-building! Day after day, hour after hour, from minute to minute, that incessant labor goes on. There must be no break in his activities, for that would mean death. He must surmount every obstacle in his path, he must vanquish every difficulty. Humanity, unaware of what it is doing, has blocked his path of development with countless difficulties; so that the child’s labor through the ages has been broken by cries of lamentation and drenched in tears. Now that we know what he suffers; now that we realize the fatal consequences of frustrating this development which goes to form the man, we have been awakened to the consciousness of the need for a new kind of social crusade - a social crusade on behalf of the noblest of beings, the leas protected of all workers - the child. Let humanity awake! Let her give the child such conditions of living as he requires - if he is to achieve his task - which is sacred - no longer amid strife and lamenting, but full of joy, and aided by the society in which he lives.
— Maria Montessori, A Message from Maria Montessori in December, 1935

Peek into the Elementary Classrooms

Falcons:

 
 
Posted
AuthorDenis Samarin
 
There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving. The wood reveals that it is not only the trees that exist, but a whole, interrelated collection of lives. And this earth, this climate, this cosmic power are necessary for the development of these lives. The myriads of lives around the trees, the majesty, the variety are things one must hunt for, and which no one can bring into the school.
— Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, p.19

What Is the Goal of the Montessori Going Out Program?

The goal of going out is exploration. The lessons about all aspects of the universe are given in the classroom, although the universe itself doesn't fit into the classroom. The presentations become alive when experienced in the real world and then reflected upon. One of the ways to encourage the children to go out into the world, society and the universe is to limit the resources in the classroom. Lessons, few selected books and specimens in the classroom spark children's interests and then to continue with the growth of the interest the children have to go out: to the library, to a museum, to a land site, to a local explorer, to a store, etc.

The place of outing becomes an extension of the classroom, their library, their laboratory. The world itself becomes a laboratory for their experiments. Everything that they learn this way becomes alive, vivid, takes multidimensional shape, and wires their minds accordingly, the knowledge received in the classroom then experienced in the world matches their learning becomes solidified in the brain.

How Does the Montessori Going Out Look Like?

 
 

Going Out involves small groups of children (usually two to four) that have questions about a specific topic they are researching (or real work they are extending). The children prepare every aspect of the outing by seeking and arranging all the logistics: decide where they are going, who they will speak to, what they want to find out, map out where they are going, and how will they get there, just to mention a few. Thus the Going Out experiences are always arranged by the children. The role of the adult is to provide guidance when requested and support the children as needed. Usually the first few outings more support is provided and then the children are able to manage more independently.  

How Can the Montessori Going Out Be Supported at Home?

Montessori guides and Montessori parents can work together in the development of the children's skill sets such as: planning and executing an outing, packing a lunch, hiking endurance, grace and courtesy. It is a good practice to talk before the event of the social expectations of the outing so the child can successfully behave in a manner that fits the occasion and have a positive experience. The adults whenever there is a going out from the home environment to a new place (or rarely visited) can use the opportunity to invite the child to plan with them and be an active participant. That preparation helps to develop a sense of responsibility, inclusion, security, confidence, and comfort. The child is then engaged in the outing and is a active member of society. 

During this age (6-12 years) parents have an immense opportunity in the children's formation. It is the optimum time to help the children in constructing a sturdy foundation for the rough adolescent and teen years in future. The children of this age are still dependent and are yearning more independence therefore the parents need to provide them opportunity of self-direction, especially outside the home. When parents are alert to their children's interests and needs they become partners to their child's discoveries. Parents get the opportunity to be a mentor and be with their child to answer a great number of questions about society and their place within it, who they are and why they are here, meaning of life and death, and all these kinds of questions that allow the child and the parent have a deep connection because of these amazing  conversations.

 

Peek inside the Elementary classrooms

Coyote Classroom:

Hello Coyote Parents!

The children are moving in all directions according to their refinement of interest. It is always wonderful to see the process of a presenting an inspiring lesson move into a specific area of study. For instance working with the Time Line of Life (which tells the story of life known on earth since the very beginning of fossil history) the group studies together then they each contribute by taking a specific area of interest to explore than come back together to compose as a group the project. To be collaborators and working as a team is a unique experience of project management and many social grace and courtesies (listening, positive feedback, accountability of completing what was promised, and acknowledging each others strengths and helping with areas of growth).

The beautiful weather has brought a new interest in botany studies and outdoor activities. Please take advantage of their curiosity and go places. Take pictures and have them describe what they see, tell the tale of the adventure and discover what great things are in their world in plain view when you look,

We are gearing up for the upcoming trip to Tonto Creek and are very excited to see the outcomes when they return to the classroom and complete their final projects.

 

Have a wonderful adventure with your precious child, we are being generous and don't want to have all the fun!! 

 

Mr. Fernando and Ms. Ada

 

 
 

Falcon Classroom:

Dear Falcon Parents,

The children are working deliberately on the follow ups directing their energy evenly among all the subjects of the Cosmic Education.  Although the biggest excitement and interest is in the areas of geography and history lessons.

A couple of groups finished their researches and presented their discoveries to the classmates. 

There is a big interest in sewing. The children came up with some sewing project ideas like making a journal cover, pillow, or even a quilt. This interest brings alive many skills that are learned in the classroom: calculating measurements (all four operations are utilized in the process), fractions, and then measuring fabric; eye-hand coordination when fitting all pieces together. Children are excited to work with their hands in making something that they value. Thank you very much for supporting this interest by buying fabrics for your child so they can use it in the classroom to enhance their creativity.

Peacefully,

Mr. Denis and Ms. Rebeca

 
 
Posted
AuthorDenis Samarin
 
Our experience with children in elementary schools has shown us that the age between six and twelve years is a period of life during which the elements of all sciences should be given. It is a period that, psychologically, is especially sensitive and might be called the “sensitive period of culture” during which the abstract plane of the human mind is organized.
— Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 85

To teach to the human potential in the Elementary environments, Maria Montessori utilized the study of the Earth in both its physical composition and the cultural development of man in relationship to geography. Montessori closely linked all living things as interdependent through the concrete work of experiments, observation, impressionistic charts and map exploration, and left open the possibilities of further study outside the classroom (Going Outs). The curriculum of Geography can be divided into two segments: Physical studies and cultural studies of the Earth. In this article, you will be presented the aspects and importance of the study of Geography and how the work in this field contributes to the delivery of the complete Cosmic Education curriculum.

The subject of Earth’s evolution through time opens up endless topics for study in both physical and cultural geography that can be presented by the teacher or created by the child’s driven interest or inquiry. The class starts each year with the Great Story, “God Who Has No Hands” and throughout the remainder of the year depending on the interest revealed by the children further exploration will be made possible. Concepts and inquiry are brought to life in form of scientific investigation. Science experiments demonstrate in an observable and provable manner the answers to the Natural & Universal Laws that children naturally ask about. The children get to discover for themselves by reasoning a conclusion based on their hands on experiment, observation, and experience. A child might explore for instance: how gravity is a force that can’t be seen but can be proven that it exists or that water has three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas - ice, water, vapor).

Mankind’s impact and relationship with the Earth is given a close view in the studies of Cultural Geography. A child can explore, analyze and reason in a group conversation what he sees are the needs of humans and plot on a chart how living things are interdependent. The idea of the role of the Earth interconnecting all living things is a motif that continues throughout the six years of the Cosmic Education curriculum where the child will immerse himself in different aspects of geographical cultural studies as well as in other disciplines such as History, Art or Music.

The exploration of culture begins with concrete examples of the home culture. Then it is expanded from the home culture to other cultures and other places. The guide presents as many aspects of culture as possible throughout the year(s) to set the attitude that all cultures are valuable and deserving of respect and inquiry. The child gets a view of what is universal and what is different in the context of physical and political geography. They then can consider what commonalities can be found in the different cultures.

No matter what we touch, an atom, or a cell, we cannot explain it without knowledge of the wide universe.  What better answer can be given to those seekers for knowledge?  It becomes doubtful whether even the universe will suffice.  How did it come into being?  How will it end?  A greater curiosity arises, which can never be satiated; so will last through a lifetime.  The laws governing the universe can be made interesting and wonderful to the child, more interesting even than things in themselves, and he begins to ask:  What am I?  What is the task of man in this wonderful universe?  Do we merely live here for ourselves, or is there something more for us to do?  Why do we struggle and fight?  What is good and evil?  Where will it all end?
— M. Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential, p. 6

In a period of six years the second plane child will have the opportunity to explore the many aspects of the study of geography in a way that their imagination is fully empowered and fueled by points of interest. Some of the series of lessons that are presented and can be studied in depth throughout the elementary years are:

  • The Composition of the Earth: all of earth’s history as a planet and the study of how the Earth works. The physical understanding of the layers of the Earth both visible and not visible including the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere (crust), and barysphere (mantle and core). Further studies involve geological studies on the formation of mountains, fault lines, continental drift, and volcanoes and its impact on life’s development.
  • Work of Water: the study of how water impacts the Earth and how it is vital to all living beings. The Work of Water studies attracted Maria Montessori the most. It was one of her biggest interests and fascination. She talked about the water as,
a toiler that sculpts the land, how it builds and transforms by dissolving other substances to make them more suitable, useful, and accessible for living things.
— (Maria Montessori)

 Children of all ages love water! They are fascinated by what it can do and how it moves. Cosmic Education brings to the child opportunities to work with water to serve their imagination. At the second plane of development, the urge is to understand the larger environment of the universe. Presenting this concept that water shapes the earth and the life on the planet. How the Earth got its current shape and topography together with the perfect balance of oxygen, carbon, and life is a deduction that the children can make as they build their understanding linking presentations.

The study of Water begins with a presentation of the River Model that represents how water moves from mountain to sea and shows some of the forces at work. Water carves, carries, and deposits. These presentations leave children with a fascination, awe, and eagerness to learn more about how this powerful force influences the face of the planet and life on it. Then follows the work of physical/topographical maps that show the location of principal rivers of the world and various continents, and discussions are held on the cultural significance of the rivers. Further work: Erosion caused by rain, rivers, glaciers and oceans, the water cycle. The children are immersed in many possibilities of exploration of the work of water on our planet and will in some way concretely see, create, research and produce products of their own (models, timelines, maps, etc…).

  • Work of Wind: the study of the function that wind has in our daily lives. Work of Wind studies begin with a set of experiments to spark the child’s imagination and show how air takes up space, how it moves upward when heated, how cool air flows in to replace the rising air, which leads to a series of presentation about the movements of air (global winds) in the atmosphere. Further work: heating and cooling of the earth and its effects on water, sea currents, seasons, local weather patterns, and erosive power of the air. All these studies are interconnected to the Great Story of  “God Who Has NO Hands” and the Creation of the Universe where the laws governing everything is proven through Command Card-Experiments.
  • Interdependencies & Fundamental Needs: the study of how all living things are inter-connected and necessary for the balance of survival. The Fundamental Needs Chart is a visual tool that the children can use to clearly plot out the particulars of a given culture with an illustrative common ground for all humanity in the present and past. The essential needs of man and how he meets each need in the particular time and space that he lives is an eye opening experience for the children. They begin to see the world’s diversity based on significant geographical differences, land composition and the climate, rather than a view based on historical context, personal difference and separation. The guide presents political geography as the creation of man to organize his world into social structures and governments based on topography, climate and time zones, vegetation and necessity.
  • Economic and Political Geography: the children learn the use of an Atlas and maps to plot their findings of a particular region, state or country. What is produced, the natural resources and man-made resources, impact of weather, topography; the study in political geography is an exciting work for children of this age because they have a drive for orientation and need to map out their growing surroundings.
  • Migrations of People and its Effects:  the study of how people travel across vast regions, countries, and continents to survive and meet their essential needs. Through the study of the Migration of People the children learn that they are not only the children of a given family but also the children of the Earth. The activity of investigating migration of people gives the child a connection with his world and compares it to any other place in the world or any other time. The reasoning mind has an opportunity to compare and contrast, analyze and draw conclusions.

Conclusion:

The Cosmic Education Curriculum gives the study of Geography a very important task: to help in the creation of the human mind during the ages of six to twelve. The guide has a rich pool of lessons to share with the students that will lead the child to self-discovery of the world and who they are in relationship to the world. Physical and cultural geography, History, Language, Archaeology, Anthropology, Art and Science are studies that serve as entry to the reasoning mind. The purposeful interest and inspiration to discover and create one's individual identity and social identity is given opportunity for exploration and discovery. Each child will find their place in the world and decipher their connection with every living thing. In the end of the conversation, it will be realized that everything is interconnected as Maria Montessori has intentionally guided us to see. Once accepted this conclusion, the child will begin to take ownership of their special role as man to be in service to all living things. Tied together are the topics of 

The guides provide key lessons that inspire and stimulate the child’s curiosity. From the points of the lesson each child or a group of children will take from the conversation what they found specifically interesting and create their own strand of investigation. They will create models, timelines, draw pictures and read books. The purposeful work of studying: political maps, flags and research on political identity, Time Line of Human Beings, migration and exploration of humans and animals, customs of different people around the world, economic geography and man’s role in protecting and caring for the environment is an unfolding of the individual as he relates to the world. The child has plenty of avenues to satisfy his or her curiosity and then relate his findings to life itself. Together with the work of the hands and the reasoning mind the Elementary child reaches the understanding that the Earth is in a sense our Mother and that human beings are the stewards for the generations to come.

To give the whole of modern culture has become an impossibility and so a need arises for a special method, whereby all factors of culture may be introduced to the six-year-old; not in a syllabus to be imposed on him, or with exactitude of detail, but in the broadcasting of the maximum number of seeds of interest.  These will be held lightly in the mind, but will be capable of later germination, as the will becomes more directive, and thus he may become an individual suited to these expansive times.
— M. Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3-4.
 
 

Peek inside the elementary classrooms:

Coyotes:

Dear Parents,

 

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break. It was great to see your children returning back to the classroom with ease and to listen to their adventures they’ve experienced during the break. 

 

Thank you for attending our Parent Night last week where we had the opportunity to glimpse into our Elementary Montessori Sleep-over. I hope this gave you a quick glance at how we as Montessori Guides offer your children opportunities to develop their independence. 

Having our library procedures fine tuned, we are excited to make our Going-Out program solidify. These types of Going-Outs will make your children  realize that all the answers they seeks for their projects, research or personal interest are not readily accessible in the classroom. With this concept in mind the child becomes aware of the outside world and this gears them towards independence. 

“While we may believe we are “helping” the child, in fact, any time the adult offers assistance or interrupts, she becomes an impediment to the child’s growth.”

In Academics, we are focusing on nurturing the imagination and the reasoning mind. We personalize lessons to each child to engage their reasoning mind. They are able to then make connections from one area to another which leads them  to arrive at abstraction in their own time & through their  own experiences. This simply means, they work in the environment gaining understanding and  carry over into  information into future lessons and experiences with ease.  

Enjoy your weekend with your precious ones.   

Best,

Mr. Fernando & Ms. Ada 

 
 

Falcons:

Dear Falcon Families,

In the new calendar year the students returned from the winter break with a strong drive for work.

The researches and writing stories that were put on hold during the preparation for the play as well as new stretches from new lessons come to life with new energy: bird and lichen researches, story about life in ancient Egypt, migrations, studies about the Earth. Researches about snakes and seals are in process of organizing going outs.

During read aloud times new books about grace and courtesy were read about stretching the minds, talking out of turn as a volcano, filling our invisible buckets with happiness and joy, and other books. The students love to hear and relate to these stories as well as our new classroom jokes, phrases, and games that come out from this amazing stories.

Every morning we start with singing songs and learning new ones (Bob Dylan's - Blowing in the Wind, and Harry Connick Jr.'s - Let There Be Peace on Earth.) We warm ourselves for new plays and musicals in future.

Oldest students are very excited to organize the Sleepover that is going to happen on February 22nd. But that is the story for another month!

Peacefully,

Mr. Denis and Ms. Rebeca

 
 
Posted
AuthorDenis Samarin

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed".  UNESCO Constitution. 

Towards the end of Dr. Montessori’s brilliant career, she turned her focus on the vital role of how her followers will continue the work of building a peaceful society. As a result of her efforts to create a vehicle to bringing Peace Education into all the classrooms in the world, Dr. Montessori was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize (1949, 1950 and 1951). In Montessori’s book, Education and Peace, she outlines the importance and the rights of children. In her lectures after WWII, she calls for a focus on peace education and a mission to end the possibility of war through non-violence peace education. She was an adamant advocate for the rights of children and became directly involved in the founding of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

As part of Dr. Montessori’s hope and desire for peace and compassion in mankind’s nature to each other, the children in Montessori classrooms learn to love in an active way,  not just by conceptual ideals and abstract words. It is quite amazing how through a simple presentation of the work of a Peacemaker livens the vitality of the children. Their actions show they are intrinsically moved to be called to be peaceful and care about our world, with statements such as  “Let’s go clean the playground!”, “Let’s not throw away recycled cans”, “Let’s play with a friend who is alone” or “Let’s sit a moment and look.”

By the time a child enters the elementary environment, they begin the process of their human tendencies to look out into the world looking for activities that satisfies their desire to make things better. The Montessori elementary guide provides preparation for the child’s emerging need to do community service work. This can be done through various ways like ecological studies, historical studies, reading biographies of peacemakers, cultural lessons, fundamental needs of all humans around the world and time, and practical life work in and out of the classroom.

When children begin to express their compassion and love for others, more importantly their desire to make a difference, the guide begins the work of preparation of Community Service projects through "going outs". These projects may include the following components:

Going Outs Play a Vital Role

Going Outs are necessary because it take the child into the world they want to be a part of and in a new framework see how they can independently contribute. The child can see with their own eyes and begin the process of figuring out their plan to make a difference. In Creo this groundwork has been set during with the children this year. We have enjoyed several successful experiences: Bake Sale for Hurricane Relief Fund, Thanksgiving Community feast (where they fed all the faculty & staff, and the children enjoyed a community luncheon and our first play production, The Quiltmaker’s Gift, an amazing story about the power of giving.

Soon the children will begin actively preparing, organizing and implementing their “Peacemaking work” both in the classroom and out. Everyone will be able to freely choose a cause that resonates with their heart and compassionate views. Some program ideas that have already emerged are: Cookies for Cancer fundraiser, save the Samutra Tigers, Animal Shelter volunteer work, a homeless campaign, and help the elderly do their chores. If we let them the list would go on and on. The children get inspired be each other and are free to choose where to get involved or they can create their own initiative. The long term impact of these experiences is immeasurable. We trust it will bring us one step closer to the ideals of creating a better world.

We look forward to the new beginnings for our Creo Elementary Students in 2018!

Elementary Team

Peek into the Elementary classrooms:

 

Coyotes: 

Dear Parents,

 

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break. It was great to see your children returning back to the classroom with ease and to listen to their adventures they’ve experienced during the break. 

 

Thank you for attending our Parent Night last week where we had the opportunity to glimpse into our Elementary Montessori Sleep-over. I hope this gave you a quick glance at how we as Montessori Guides work with your children and their independence. 

 

“While we may believe we are “helping” the child, in fact, any time the adult offers assistance or interrupts, she becomes an impediment to the child’s growth.”

In Academics, with the understanding of the child's active imagination and the reasoning mind carrying over to the second plane we personalize lessons to each child to engage their reasoning mind that enables them to arrive at abstraction. This simply means, they will be able to understand and carry over information into future learnings with ease. 

 

Having our library procedures fine tuned, we are excited to make our Going-Out program solidify. These types of Going-Outs will make your children  realize that all the answers they seeks for their projects, research or personal interest are not readily accessible in the classroom. With this concept in mind we are making the child aware of the outside world and gearing them towards independence. 

 

I hope every one will have a wonderful weekend. 

 

Best,

 

Mr.Fernando & Ms. Ada 

 
 

Falcons:

This month was commemorated by an explosion into writing stories and comic books. Another event that was very significant is working on a play "The Quiltmaker's Gift". The students went through all the stages of preparing the play: auditions, rehearsals, making props, etc. 

Have a great Christmas Break!!!

Mr. Denis and Ms. Rebeca

 
 
Posted
AuthorDenis Samarin

Our approach to history is different compared to traditional views. Here is a brief description by Maria Montessori. (Pamphlet – Cosmic – Education 1944)

"Certainly, like all other living beings, man has been endowed with instincts and impulses and consequently he has also sought the best conditions for himself, but if one considers the history of mankind one sees that one of the differences in man is the fact that he was not limited as to territory or climate but that he was destined to occupy the whole surface of the Globe.”  That is why we begin in the Universe in the Creation of Life and move the child to the creations on Earth, the continent, the state, the city, the neighborhood, the class community and the child as an individual. The greater view willl then allow for the subtleties of commonalities and with less emphasis of differences. 

As the child becomes aware of his greater environment he can notice all that contributes to keep the balance of nature and the possibility of his or her survival and existence. Once gratitude for all that is comes to the forefront of all our history impressions the greater joy and purpose of History studies jumps at the child to dive into the exploration and discovery of geography, science, zoology, biology to connect the web of interdependencies that man creates for himself in alignment with nature….. as Dr. Montessori planned: 

If one investigates further one sees that he used all that was in his environment: water, concrete, cosmic forces, sun, energies like electricity, nuclear energies, cosmic rays, etc., to transform the face of the Earth.  He has detached himself from nature to create with his work something above it, a Supranatura, so that to live today mankind must depend not on nature but on the work of man.

The picture of impressions we  put before children in the history of Humans the Creators (or recreators) of all that is known to us. The humans who are creating and working with their hands as well as guiding with their intellects are placed on center stage of our stories so the children can see how History is made. The History of Human beings is not only of who we know and remember by name, but are also unknown contributors and anonymous inventors of all our technology from the rock, to arrow head, to boomerang. In so many cases the ‘inventors’ names remain an unknown but this does not stop us from acknowledging their contribution and permitting ourself the opportunity to expand on what we have before us. One example is who created the first chair, or table? We know famous developers / inventors, but remember without creators of one thing they could not have done any of their work.

"Certainly man has become conscious of much of what was unconscious in the beginning, but he is not yet aware that to continue to exist he must arrive at what he works at now only intuitively; to make one nation that includes the whole of humanity."

Supranatura human beings not only create this, but also organize it. Maria Montessori used the term "Supranatura" to refer to the idea that everything that humans use have been created/invented by human hands. Society has come from needing to organizational/economical/protections/self-perfection reasons. 

We present these keys through Archeology, Anthropology and Art. We cover pre and recorded history. We start with the story of the Universe. Through the composition of the Earth, then how life presented itself through the careful preparation of the Earth, then how man comes to utilize the blessings of the Earth. We show through the story that because we have such a proven ability to adapt we can change our environment and because of this we can change this for good or evil. Early humans might have had the same sense for this and that of destiny. They may have had an idea as to what was in store for them on Earth. Humans are destined for greatness, but also capable of falling short.

We present the examples of how humans of all different parts of the work come together to construct physical territory through meeting their material and spiritual needs. We show children, life of the past belongs to so many human beings. Through our work we put the children in contact with intelligence of common man. So children can explore the idea of gratitude to the makers of our society. Maria Montessori was concerned about the disconnect between mankind. She believed in part this is what made war possible. So purposely in her work for the children she wanted to talk the language of peace, unity and interdependence.

"That he realizes it intuitively and works towards it is shown by the creation of the European Union, the United Nations, etc., but he still continues to talk about giving freedom to oppressed nations.  That shows that mankind still does not realize that ultimate progress can only be achieved by uniting together.  The whole world must become one nation.  It is not a question of being free or oppressed. It is a question of becoming aware that humanity is already so physically united that if something disastrous happens in some part of the world the consequences are felt throughout the whole."

When the child is ready for elementary, he turns psychologically outward towards his society. They need the opportunity to explore their society and must practice in wider society. Hero Worship is introduced through history lessons. The children will come to realize that there have been heroes throughout all times. There are heroes now and there will be heroes in the future. It is far more interesting and worthwhile for the child to look into the unknown with a touch of something they do know because from that point of view they can create and their creations are limitless. They invent ideas where they want to explore and have the freedom and resources to begin their quest as an individual or a group. 

Forming groups – As they form their own groups they are predicating their own culture and history. For example, forming secret languages is a by product of this experimentation. Through these lessons the child will come to realize that  building up a society needs cooperation. It is a significant point for human kind and children should get this exposure from a younger age.

The active imagination and work of the reasoning mind demands of the child not only to ask what but ask why and how? A sense of justice and morality plays an important part in their quest for history. For example, what is acceptable in one culture is not acceptable in another. Children want to know why, Code of morality and understand how moving to another environment will make people adapt to its surroundings as a survival mechanism.

Through grace and courtesy lessons we help them to build these skills in order to fit into a wider society. They are going through the same processes early humans went through. They come to realize that if we cooperate and share our tasks we could be efficient and a lot  more can be done. It is through group work that they will build these skills. 

Cosmic Education allows the child to appreciate this and they can make a difference; to change the past. If the child can understand themselves socially in the world, then also they can become aware of their contribution to the world among others. He will begin to appreciate contributions by others. Through these lessons we also making the child relate that all work is serving society. We must respect and be grateful for all the work that is done. 

Because it is the story of human beings, history is to be the center of Cosmic Education. We are guided by law and order just like animals and plants. Every year with our Great Lessons, this idea gets conveyed to the child. They also come to release that we are the species that have choice. If we don’t do good there will be consequences. These are the impressions the Guide tries to convey through the stories and lessons to the child leaving the seed as food for thought.

Peek into the Elementary Classrooms:

Coyotes:

The Coyote classroom has been very busy preparing themselves for the next steps of Cosmic Education: purposeful going outs and handwork to further express their research and creative studies. We have had regular Friday cooking and baking and it has culminated this past week with our Thanksgiving feast. Yes! The children had a fantastic menu and fed the staff too! Turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potato suffle, corn, cranberry sauce, salad, and apple pie.

 
 

Falcons:

We got a new reptile to our classroom this month - the Garter Snake. The students were excited to have a new member in our community and a student decided to make a research about Garter Snakes. There was a growth of interactions and collaboration with Coyotes classroom from which developed some more researches like French Revolution, Thanksgiving Day History, Pill Bug (Roly Poly). Another interest of some students in the classroom, Baseball Game, grew into a study about everything that is connected to that: rules, equipment, fields, teams, poems, songs, etc.

 
 
Posted
AuthorRuchira Fernando
 
Times have changed, and science has made great progress, and so has our work; but our principles have only been confirmed, and along with them our conviction that mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation.
— Maria Montessori, 1930

Peace Education is at the root of our work in the Elementary Classroom. All lessons lead to the coming together of the human being in his environment today, yesterday and in the future. Without reservation after over fifty years of methodic scientific research all over the world, with children of all walks of life, Maria Montessori came to several universal unsuspected truths about child development:

All children regardless of opportunity manifest the same personality characteristics, all are born with limitless human potentialities, the same fundamental needs shared by all children manifested in the early years and are detrimental to their development, and most importantly, that no child was sterile to the possibilities of any other human being. Unconditional kindness, encouragement, and openness to opportunity are the work of the adult and the springboard for any child to succeed.
— Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

Maria Montessori did not stop at rethinking learning and how children develop to prepare a person for a career; she encouraged education to take a serious look at the problems of human and social development and actively take a stand to reforming education to reestablish humanity:

If one has grown up with a veneration for humanity, one will not consent to become an unconscious, destructive force to destroy humanity. Men will not lend themselves to those erroneous ways, which foolishly destroy the creators and maintainers of everything that provides for their existence. They will be unwilling to use the supernatural and universal powers, which they possess for a cosmic cataclysm to destroy the fruits of civilization. Having developed a conscience and sentiment towards human life, they will be incapable of cruelty; for cruelty belongs to a dead soul.
— Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

Peace Education lessons are purposefully integrated with Cosmic Education curriculum to give rise to the love for humanity and unity of all living things on our Earth and Universe. The children create their own manifestation of love for our fellow man in the classroom. Each one at an individual level and as a community member explores this possibility. To explain it further, Peace Education is not necessarily a planned lesson that we as guides create arbitrarily to give to the children with an established agenda in mind. We open up the conversation with the children based on their questions or curiosities. A commentary we may have overheard at lunch time or during work period where the child shares they have witnessed in their own natural daily life. We as guides use these points of inquiry as inspiration to grow their questions into more guided questions until they themselves are in a space of a Peace Education opportunity.

For instance, during one of our recess sessions a student showed up sad. A guide asked her what was wrong and she shared that her family was affected by the Hurricane in Texas and she was worried for her cousins. She brought this concern to our quiet mindful exercise. The whole group was guided into thinking about how the people in Texas must feel in that very same moment and the Children spontaneously began to share their gratitude for what they had and considered blessings. It was something they had been practicing in class as an exercise before eating lunch and now it was a tool they used to express how they were feeling and how they had many reasons to be hopeful. After that we worked in an activity where we had groups of 8-10 students and they were asked to help each other survive on a small boat to reach an island before the storm hit. It was an exercise of not only self-preservation but the greater moral duty of ensuring every ones safety. Some manifested their hidden leadership skills and took on the challenge and guided all to survive the storm. They celebrated each other, thanked the leaders, and through mindful discussion they shared their views on how it can be a scary thing facing natural forces and they realized only by reaching out and holding on to each other can they survive… can humanity survive.

These exercises give endless opportunity for great conversations and we invite the adults in the life of children to pay attention and give to them time and conversation to explore anything and everything that they bring to you as their point of interest and curiosity about our world. Any time you can, bring to them ways of exploring their own thoughts, purpose, and connectivity to other things they have learned. Remember it is not about answering their questions but to bring to them ways for to answer their own inquiries, in other words, as we do in class, present to them the opportunity for further study (prepare the environment or take them to a place that will give them what they need: a walk in the park where homeless people house themselves, a hill to witness the sun setting, kicking a ball together in different ways and studying the science of the effect of the kick, a sewing machine and a story of sewing with your mom, as you can plainly see … endless possibilities.)

Always start from your observations of their activities, their consistent curiosity in a subject, item, or topic, a particular request, inquiry, and act accordingly to their prompt. Be an active member of their self-construction. To culminate the activity, try to provide a special way that will be memorable and purposeful, so the child may witness the unity and universality shared.

The child, a free human being, must teach us and teach society order, calm, discipline, and harmony. When we help him love blossoms, too – the love of which we have great need to bring men together and create a happy life.
— Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

For instance, the 2017 Hurricane Season has been more active then normal. When Harvey made landfall in Texas it spontaneously opened an opportunity for the children an inquiry and relevant conversation about hurricanes and the people that it impacts. Many children were naturally upset because they have dear family members in Texas, Mexico, Florida and Puerto Rico. Topics in meteorology, oceanography, geography, history, human culture and fundamental needs considerations evolved around this current event and the children knew it was more than just something to “research” but something that impacts real people. The children were able to explore this and begin the process of asking even more profound questions, such as: Why are there hurricanes? How could people be without water or electricity? How does this impact me, my family, my relatives…? And they dove down even deeper in evaluating: Well I am ok, so now I feel I should help do something for those who are not ok. Then their questions to us their guides transformed to: What can we do to help?

The wave of interest to find a cause to help, research needs, then to plan an event emerged. Both classrooms collaborating and mixing ideas to the cause. As time moved forward in a period of 25 short days their need to do something continued, and escalated as not 1 nor 2 but 4 hurricanes that made landfall in the U.S. territory this season and not thousands but hundreds of thousands of people affected.

The Bake Sale

 
 

Peace education is not about creating things for our children to show up for; Peace Education is all about the adult showing up for what the children create so they may bring peace in the world.

For instance, the Bake Sale: October 6th at Creo Montessori at 8 o'clock in the morning with a beautiful sun shining, coffee brewing, and yummy treats surrounding us all! Smiles of joy and inner satisfaction.

The children came up with the idea of a Bake Sale to raise money to be able to make a contribution to the cause of the Disaster victims after several conversations and continual Hurricane activity and news about people suffering and doing without their basic needs. Slowly but surely THEY made it happen of course with our vigilance and support. They organized: divided the jobs, advocated for their cause, prepared recipes, made treats at school and at home, posters, research and decorations. They had a blast and also they had a focus… raising funds. The joy in their faces at the Bake Sale when they checked off an item as Sold Out was priceless…

What was most beautiful was how all of you showed up and made the morning a glorious memory that the children can call upon as a victory. Friends, doing for the children will never give them even remotely close the same satisfaction as the child acting and doing for themselves. You can say you have witnessed this truth that day.  In standing out of the way, and allowing the child to do the adult helps them manifest independence responsibly and in their selected cause they begin the formation of the future peacemakers of our world! Parents and children together in the mindset of making a difference for someone unknown who we share this beautiful planet with is hope, love, and inspiration!

 The children’s first fundraiser of the year an amazing yummy Bake Sale! The children set a goal for 200.00 dollars, then said it would be nice to make 500.00, what could we do with 1,000, 5,000, a million dollars! The beginning of making the world a better place simple because WE CAN!!!!

Thank you for your participation, donation and love for these amazing human beings!!!

With greatest love,

Denis, Rebecca, Fernando and Ada

Peek into the Elementary Classrooms

 
 
Posted
AuthorDenis Samarin
 
If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future
— Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

It is a valid wonder the question, Why does the Montessori Method present the learning concepts to the children concretely before they have the expectation for the child to work abstractly. There is always the question: When is it the right time for children to work mathematics abstractly (paper only) as presented in traditional schools and concerns if the children are not going to be able to perform in a traditional setting.

First I would like to present the idea of concrete to abstract as defined by the Association Montessori Internacionale:

A progression both logical and developmentally appropriate. The child is introduced first to a concrete material that embodies an abstract idea such as size or colour. Given hands-on experience, the child’s mind grasps the idea inherent in the material and forms an abstraction. Only as the child develops, is she gradually able to comprehend the same idea in symbolic form.

The main idea to hold true to the Montessori Method is Dr. Montessori’s greatest belief that she expressed in everything she wrote and in every lecture she gave: “what the hand does, the mind remembers.” (M.M.) It is a hard rule she insisted upon, and it is feverishly given to the guides in training. We must trust the material to isolate a concept and through its manipulation the student will gain the full depth of the idea displayed in front of him or her. When is the child ready to move to pen and paper (work abstractly)? We understand this happens when the child demonstrates he or she has internalized the patterns, sequence, or logic of what is being presented and no longer needs the Montessori material to manipulate the concept to gain an accurate result.

In mathematics the material represents the abstract concepts of fundamental operations and assists in the development of the child’s “mathematical mind”. By manipulating the material the child has a logical, clear and visual way of grasping the concept. They can see and feel that 10 is more than 1 and that 1,000 is a quantity much larger than 1. Not just by the notion of memorizing a number or seeing it on paper but by the exercise of actually counting beads to internalize how much more counting is necessary to get to 1,000. This is extremely important when the child moves into dynamic operations (carrying the 1 to the next category). They get to visual and physically carry over to the next category. They see math and the manipulation of quantity and can then begin the process of analysis and working story problems, which brings them to the abstract of mathematic work. The most important gift the concrete material gives the child is to bring order and sequence to the understanding of mathematical computations, theorems, and problem solving.

Language work provides a fantastic break down of each function of words and with symbols and colors children are able to compartmentalize language and truly get a since of all the Parts of Speech and their use in a sentence. Sentence analysis work is what outside of Montessori is called diagraming sentences. This material is also a gift to the child in breaking down syntax and sentence structure and physically moving words in a sentence to truly understand its position in a sentence and purpose.

The beauty of Cosmic Education lies in all the charts and timelines that lays out an amazing amount of concepts that are presented in a concrete way that can be manipulated, organized, replicated and recompiled in a way that is meaningful to the child in the intent to internalize the concepts and expand beyond what they know. Only until the information is internalized can the child truly express him or herself abstractly.

In our classrooms the children enjoy the freedom to work with Montessori concrete material, books, educational objects (globe, maps), specimens, nomenclature (information cards), art supplies and lots and lots of paper to express their acquisition of new knowledge.

A key to our work in the classroom is to follow Dr. Montessori’s Golden Rule:

Never give more to the mind than you give to the hand.

Peek to the Elementary classrooms:

 
 
Posted
AuthorDenis Samarin

 

Cosmic Education is primarily dedicated to the child in the second plane of development. Dr. Maria Montessori and her son, Mario after years of observations, carefully designed this method. Dr. Maria Montessori used the term cosmic education for children ages 6 through 12 years. As the children enter the second plane of development, the human tendencies continue to operate, while new physiological characteristics begin to assert themselves:  the emerging power of the imagination, the drive to know the reasons of things, a need for abstraction and intellectual activities, a drive to perform extended and elaborate work, and a focus on issues of morality. Each of these aspects of the child receives its own measure of attention as Cosmic Education is presented through the years. Even though in a physical classroom we usually see children grouped in ages 6 - 9 and 9 - 12, Cosmic Education and the approach towards the child does not change.

 

With this thought the child must begin to understand that laws are not oppressive, but rather are a natural part of life and enable us to maintain harmony and order. Cosmic Education reveals to the second plane children that all things in our Universe are connected.  This is how Maria Montessori manifests her concept of Cosmic Education. “The laws governing the Universe can be made interesting and wonderful to the child, more interesting even than things in themselves, and he begins to ask: ‘What am I?” What is the task of man in this wonderful Universe? Why we struggle and fight? What is good and evil? Where will it all end?”

All things are part of the Universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. The idea helps the mind of the child to become focused, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied having found the universal center of himself with all things.
— Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential.

The Elementary Team has the amazing and forever exciting task to bring to the children a curriculum that offers the child the Keys to the Universe. The guide approaches any subject with a story that feeds the senses and opens the imagination. Coined by Mario Montessori as the Great Lessons, there are five: First Great Lesson - Coming of the Universe and the Earth, Second Great Lesson - Coming of Life, Third Great Lesson - Coming of Human Beings, Fourth Great Lesson - Communication in Signs (Alphabet), and Fifth Great Lesson - The Story of Numbers. These stories that reveal all the mysteries of the universe are the foundation for all academic learning in the child’s life span.

 

These lessons provide an all-encompassing, holistic vision of various disciplines combined where the children actively connect to many areas of study as the narration unfolds. They see how the whole relates to its parts and how the parts are responsible for the whole. The Great Lessons tell of how each particle, substance, species, and/or event has a purpose and a contribution to make in the Universe. Gratitude becomes second nature and expressed in the work of the child.

 

Dr. Montessori’s gift to the Elementary guides was a way to teach children ages 6-12 the beginnings of the Universe, concepts of the origins of life, the evolution of humans, the development of language, and the history of mathematics in a interactive method that crossed all disciplines. The Elementary teacher's goal is not to rely on a syllabus but the child, to be inspired by their curiosity and guide each student using lessons, materials, and providing experiences, both inside and outside of school to bring these great stories to how it is relevant to their life. Day to day the child experiences tangible sensory moments that stems from one of the Great Stories and becomes a part of the child’s past, present and future in relationship to the universe.

 

In the next few months we will be exploring the depths of Cosmic Education as it unfolds in our classrooms. We look forward to sharing its beauty and wonder with the Creo Community.

Elementary Team

Peek to the elementary classrooms: