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.

 
 
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AuthorRuchira Fernando