Thursday, January 21, 2010

History of the Olympics - From Greece to the 2010 Olympic Games in the Montessori Classroom

NAMC montessori classroom history of the olympics canada flag
Learning about the Olympics is a fun way to bring cultural and physical geography, history, literature, math, health, physical education, and even physics into your Montessori environment.

The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games begin February 12 and March 12, respectively. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is the 18th city to host the Winter Olympics and the third Canadian city to host the Olympic Games. The first Canadian Olympics was held in Montreal, Quebec during the summer of 1976, and the 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary, Alberta. The 2010 Olympic Games will last for 16 days, with opening ceremonies commencing on February 12 and ending with the closing ceremony on February 28. The Paralympic Games begin March 12 and close on March 21, 2010.

At the Olympic Games, approximately 2,500 athletes from over 80 countries will compete in 15 different sports and over 86 separate medal events.

Over 1,300 athletes and officials from more than 40 countries will take part in five sports (alpine and cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, wheelchair curling and biathlon) during the 10-day 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

To truly understand about the modern Olympics, it is important to study the beginnings of the Olympics which started in Greece in the year 776 BCE.

History of the Olympics - From Greece to the 2010 Olympic Games in the Montessori Classroom

The Olympics began as a way to honor Zeus, the king of the Gods, and only pure-blooded, free Greek males could participate. In the beginning, there was only one event, a short sprint called the Stade. Because the Olympics were dedicated to Zeus, women were not allowed to compete or even attend. The winner of the race was crowned with a wreath made from the sacred olive tree. The Greek games were held every four years, for 1,170 years before being abolished with the rise of the Roman Empire, around the 4th century A.D. by the Roman Emperor Theodosius II. During that time, events such as wrestling, boxing, chariot racing, and the pentathlon were added. The pentathlon was a series of five events which included the long jump, javelin throw, discus throw, foot race and wrestling.
NAMC montessori classroom history of the olympics inukshuk
In 1896, Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator and sportsman, founded the modern Olympics to promote friendship and fair play amongst nations. The first games were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Women were still unable to compete. Held in the summer, the first “winter” event, ice skating, was added to the games in 1908 but it wasn’t until 1924 that the first winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France.

This series of blogs will talk about ideas on how to incorporate the Olympics into your Montessori classroom. In the meantime, here are some places to go for further research:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, January 21, 2010.


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