Lower Elementary Principles

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Lower Elementary Lessons and Required Work Goals

 

Lower Elementary children are required to complete the equivalent of three works during morning work time. Each child makes individual choices to complete one math, one language, and one cultural work with each work fulfilling approximately one half hour of focused concentration. A soft tone bar is rung to help measure the time.
For some children a half hour of math may encompass four pages of multiplication, while other children may spend a half hour on four problems. Exceptions to the guidelines of completing three works are made for students deeply engrossed in their work or passionate about continuing with an ongoing project.

Often, a work requirement may be fulfilled with a lesson being given that day. Individual lessons are given during morning work time as well as group lessons with a focus on a particular grade level. Though the focus is on one grade level, students from all levels in the class are invited to join.

Time management is a challenging skill that is learned through practice. As the first few weeks of school are a transition time in the classroom, we ease into the requirements.


Cosmic Education in the Lower Elementary Classroom

 

When a child was very small it was enough to call him by name for him to turn around. Now we must appeal to his soul… We must give him grandeur. To begin with, let us present him the world.” – Dr. Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence

Cosmic Education begins with the child who has taken a step beyond questioning “What?” to wonder, “Why? How? When?” This same child has refocused her vision from clearly seeing her family as the basis of the world to viewing it as one magnified part of a larger world. She ponders what her place is in that larger world. The slim book of time she once carried with the single page reading “Present” now holds an infinitely greater number of pages with the addition of “Past” and “Future.” She does not tire from the knowledge she has gained, as her spirit is boundless. She craves an understanding of herself and all that she sees. She thinks about the things that she cannot see. She wonders, “What is good? What are the rules, and who makes them?”

How does one present a child with the world? Cosmic Education aims to plant the seeds of the child’s own culture, all of humanity, and all of nature, so she may see the interdependency of the universe and gain a sense of belonging and respect in knowing she is not here by herself but with others. Through imagination, the child is able to envision the whole which provides a framework for integration of further knowledge. In To Educate the Human Potential, Dr. Maria Montessori wrote, “We cannot understand a stone without some understanding of the great sun! No matter what we touch, an atom, or a cell, we cannot explain it without knowledge of the wide universe.”

Through a series of Great Lessons, the child is offered a panoramic view of the universe and human history. The child is, in a true sense, presented with the world. The first of the Great Lessons explores creation stories and the origins of the universe, while lessons to follow present the beginnings of life on earth, the development of humans, and explorations of writing and mathematics through time. Each Great Lesson is presented in a highly impressionistic and dramatic manner, instilling a sense of wonder in the child of her own connectedness with the cosmic process. The principles in these lessons offer countless avenues for the child’s exploration and provide a context for the study of details.

While the Great Lessons demonstrate the order that is innate in the universe and the gifts that humanity has passed on to us, they also present a holistic vision of knowledge from which the disciplines naturally emerge and eventually return. For example, the history of writing in Egypt is connected to clay tablets from the riverbanks of the Nile. The Nile is connected to geography and geometry, as a three-four-five triangle was used to survey the land following the floods. Flooding is connected to flora and fauna and to papyrus, the writing paper eventually used to record the history. In such a way, Cosmic Education provides an overview to stimulate the child’s rich imagination by tying together the details of the disciplines for language, mathematics, geometry, geography, art, history, zoology, botany, and science.

The early elementary Montessori classroom offers a prepared environment where the child has freedom to choose the work that interests her at her own individual level. A variety of hands-on, self-correcting materials are available to encourage the child’s independence, personal responsibility, and spontaneity, while providing a frame of reference for her exploration. The classroom provides a community of workers with freedom of movement and choice where the child may begin to realize her cosmic task while working alongside her classmates.

What is the child’s cosmic task? As the universe is collaborating in the still evolving creation of everything that is, every element of nature performs a task in maintaining a balance in the universe. The child’s task is the same as each element of nature, to fulfill the instinctual need to exist through survival and to contribute to the total harmony of the universe through meaningful work.

Just as the child is presented the world through the Great Lessons and in exploring the disciplines that emerge from them, the world presents itself to the child in what Dr. Montessori described as “going out.” As the child begins to view herself as a part of a larger whole, her interest in all of creation grows. In From Childhood to Adolescence, Dr. Montessori wrote, “Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them in cupboards.” Through outings the child may discover her place with nature and the social community.

The purpose of Cosmic Education is to interest the child, to invite freedom, independence, and fulfillment of potential. It embraces the understanding that answers must be divined from within. Cosmic Education fosters a sense of respect and gratitude for all of creation that will ultimately lead to the child’s discovery of reality.

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 centre of himself with all things.” -Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential

 

 

 

 

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Upcoming Events

Thursday, Nov. 20--Community meeting hosted by the Upper Elementary. 11:00

Saturday, Nov. 22--Robotics Competition at Bishop Brady HS from 8:00 until 3:30.

Tuesday, Nov. 25--Junior High dinner at the Carlisle's (etiquette and formal dining lesson)

Thursday, Friday, Nov. 27-28--No school, Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, Dec. 4--Spelling Bee at 11:00

Thursday, Dec. 18--Community meeting hosted by the preschool class

Dec 22-Jan 2--No school

Download the 2014-15 Calendar