Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Five Great Lessons of Montessori Elementary

The Five Great Lessons is a group of impressionistic stories that are meant to provide elementary students with a “big picture” of the world.  At this stage of development, most of the children are becoming aware of the world and how they fit into it.  These lessons can spark the imagination and help children to think not only of the past, but of the future as well.  Stories speak so well to children at this age and the re-telling of these important Cosmic lessons motivate children to research areas that are of interest to them.  

Each of the Great Lessons helps the child to dive deeper into different areas of the classroom.  They might be encouraged to explore topics such as history, geography, math, science and language. Perhaps the most important, children acquire gratitude for those who have come before them.  These lessons contain a great deal of information so it is important to give the children ample time to discover different areas in each lesson. 

I have listed out some possible topics that could be explored within each Great Lesson.  This list is not extensive.  I found it somewhere, but can't remember the website.

The First Great Lesson: The Beginning of the Universe and Earth

  • The Universe
  • The Solar System
  • Composition of the Earth
  • Volcanoes
  • Rocks
  • Chemistry: The Three States of Matter
  • Creation Stories
The Second Great Lesson: Life Comes to Earth
  • Bacteria
  • Plants (classification and parts of: ferns, conifers, and flowering plants)
  • Fossils
  • Trilobites
  • Dinosaurs
  • Living and Nonliving
  • Classification Work
  • Kingdom Animalia (Classification and parts of: insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals)
  • Oceans and Ocean Life
  • Supercontinents (Pangaea, Laurasia, Gondwanaland)
  • Continents
  • Mountains
  • Oxygen & Carbon Dioxide

The Third Great Lesson: Humans Come to Earth
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • Fundamental Needs
  • The History of:
    • Tools
    • Food preparation and Storage
    • Clothing
    • Shelter
    • Transportation
    • Medicine
    • Defense
    • Art
    • Religion/Spirituality
The Fourth Great Lesson: How Writing Began

History of Writing
  • Hieroglyphic and Cuneiform Writing
  • Different Alphabets
  • Different Writing Systems (letters and characters)
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • The Printing Press

The Fifth Great Lesson: How Numbers Began
  • History of Numbers
  • History of Mathematics
  • Different Number Systems
  • How ‘zero’ came to be
  • The invention of the Calendar
  • Systems and Units of Measurement
  • Economic Geography

As you can see, there is plenty of material to cover in between the telling of the Lessons. While it is important to tell the First Great Lesson as early in the year as possible, time should be left between the Great Lessons to give your child the opportunity to explore.  Also to note, the Great Lessons are repeated every year throughout the elementary span of 6 years.  Each year, the child will learn something new or dig a little further into a topic that particularly interests them.  I have presented these to my daughter a few times now and she pulls out different information from them every year because she is a little older and in a different stage of development. 

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