An Introduction to Cosmic Education
Cosmic Education is a cornerstone of the Montessori Philosophy. At its core, Cosmic Education tells the story of the interconnectedness of all things. It describes the role of education as comprehensive, holistic and purposeful; to encompass the development of the whole person within the context of the universe. It also introduces the possibility that humanity might have a “cosmic task,” to better the world for future generations.
Doctor Maria Montessori believed that Cosmic Education was vital to early education because it provides children with a framework to understand their world and their place within it. Children learn to respect studies of the past, develop an understanding of ethics, and value the contributions of others. In this way, Cosmic Education teaches children to become aware of the interdependence of all things, and develop a sense of gratitude that comes from that awareness.
Within the Montessori classroom, Cosmic Education forms a platform for teaching children to understand and adapt to their environment. In the first plane of development (0-6), Cosmic Education introduces the child to the natural world through experiences with nature and the sensorial learning materials. These experiences teach children to refine their senses, and thus the way they process and understand their world. These skills aid the child’s development, and confidence with themselves, their society, and their world as a whole.
In the second plane of development (6-12), Cosmic Education introduces the child to the repeating natural cycles in our world, the fundamental needs that all humans share, and the connectedness of all living things. In the elementary years, children begin to draw connections between how each particle, substance, species, and event has a purpose in the development of all others. These “Great Lessons of Cosmic Education” are taught as a whole curriculum to show children how all content areas, such as the study of history, culture, science and the environment, are all interconnected.
Doctor Maria Montessori believed that children who received a Cosmic Education in childhood were better prepared to enter adolescence as independent, socially responsible, and emotionally intelligent individuals. This is because Cosmic Education launches children into the world with a practiced understanding of who they are as individuals, as members of the human race, and as citizens of the universe. It also provides children with a deep understanding of their moral responsibility to address global issues that affect humankind and the environment. In Montessori, every moment is an opportunity to understand the integrity of the universe.
Why is Cosmic Education important today?
Doctor Maria Montessori believed that the world was a purposeful place; and that war, poverty and injustice, were deviations from that purpose. She believed that Cosmic Education was a way to restore harmony and order, and thus allow humankind to realise their true potential. In the twenty-first century, global awareness, peaceful communication, and ethical cooperation are integral to resolving global disputes. By providing children with a Cosmic Education, Montessori empowers students with the knowledge to transform the world. As Doctor Maria Montessori states: “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”
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