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Science, Technology, and Engineering (Upper & Lower Elementary)

Lower Elementary: 6, 7, and 8 year olds
Upper Elementary: 9 and 10 year olds

boyBecause Maria Montessori based her approach on developmental stages, the lower elementary stage is characterized by the child’s entry into imagination. Identified as the capacity to transport themselves in time and in place, the imagination permits children to explore History and Geography. Dr Montessori observed that at this stage in the Second Plane of Development children begin to ask questions about the Universe, the earth, life as it has evolved on earth, and their place in the Universe. In response to their questions she developed the Great Stories, or great lessons that set the stage for an integrated approach to the curriculum offered to answer these questions. The first three great lessons introduce children to:

  • the formation of the universe, the solar system and the earth
  • the evolution of life on earth
  • the coming of human beings to earth

the fourth and fifth great lessons are about two great human inventions around which curriculum is structured:

  • communication through signs, in particular the alphabet
  • development of numbers

These five great lessons create a whole view, or overview of the curriculum into which details, provided by the subsequent lessons, may be place in relation to the whole and to one another. In this way, education becomes a coherent, interrelated whole rather than an assortment of unrelated pieces of information.

measuringThe Cosmic education curriculum begins with the great lessons, instead of giving children tiny, disconnected details, these stories give children a broad vision their expanding intellectual power demands. They become the framework for all subsequent lessons and activities, ensuring the coherence of the curriculum. In response to the children’s interests sparked by the great lessons the teacher prepares lessons to harness those interests. The environment is designed to provides children with space and uninterrupted time to follow those interests, for example in a great work.

The great work consists of follow up work, which completely absorbs them for an extended period of time. During such work, children develop their ability to cooperate with others as well as to concentrate for longer periods of time. This work consists of building and expanding their understanding, repeating the lesson in a variety of ways.

Montessori environments, prepared for children from six to twelve have fully prepared science areas in which children undertake  experiments relating to all areas of science including:

  • astronomy including the study of the planets and other astronomical phenomena
  • physics and chemistry
  • geography and geology
  • biology including botany and zoology

When children enter the environment prepared for six to nine year olds, the first science experiments they encounter reveal basic knowledge that helps them understand:

  • the formation of the solar system
  • the earth and its parts
  • life on earth and its beginnings
  • the needs of plants and animals

Subsequent science experiments enable children to explore in more detail topics in geography, history and biology. As children complete the experiments and design some of their own, they learn about the struggle of life to survive and evolve, and the benefits of this vast work of millenia. Children come to see that they have a place in the universe, and the  web of life, as well as a responsibility to contribute to their world in productive ways. As a result children begin to engage in problem-solving activities relating to themselves and their roles in the natural and social environment. Most importantly, they learn that their life is full of meaning.