Thursday, August 05, 2010

Montessori Elementary Curriculum: Preparation for The Five Great Lessons

…by offering the child the story of the universe, we give him something a thousand times more infinite and mysterious to reconstruct with this imagination, a drama no fable can reveal. ~ Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential

NAMC montessori elementary curriculum preparation for five great lessons jars
In keeping with age-old, oral storytelling traditions, the Montessori teacher must know the stories of the Five Great Lessons thoroughly enough to tell them rather than read them. Rehearsing helps the Montessori teacher practice presenting the story smoothly and effectively. Rehearsing also provides valuable information about the amount of time it will take to tell the story.

Additionally, the Montessori teacher needs to prepare for the students’ questions by having a solid foundation in the subject matter of that Great Lesson. To stay up to date with the factual information in each story, the Montessori teacher will need to carry out some new research every year.

Montessori Elementary: Preparation for The Five Great Lessons

During the telling of each Great Lesson, the Montessori teacher uses short demonstrations to dramatically illustrate major events in the story and to give the students a visual memory of that event. Again, preparation is the key in order to incorporate the demonstrations seamlessly into the telling of the story. The goal is to draw the students’ interest to many topics that can be further explored in other areas of the Montessori elementary curriculum, such as the sciences and history.

Encourage questions during each story and rehearse ways to handle questions respectfully without disrupting the flow of the story, then invite questions after the telling of each story. Follow up students’ questions with presentations and activities in other subjects, including research projects and field trips.

NAMC montessori elementary curriculum preparation for five great lessons fossilMontessori believed that the young elementary student is in a period of critical development.

“We are confronted with a considerable development of consciousness that has already taken place, but now that consciousness is thrown outwards with a special direction, intelligence being extroverted, and there is an unusual demand on the part of the child to know the reasons of things.” – Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential.

The Montessori Five Great Lessons offer a gateway into further exploration of specific subject matter that, if presented passionately, beautifully and thoroughly, will live in your Montessori students forever.

The final article of this series will explore the meaning of the Five Great Lessons within Montessori’s concept of Cosmic Education.

NAMC is proud to offer the elementary teaching manual, The Five Great Lessons/Cosmic Education and Peace: a comprehensive curriculum manual for Montessori elementary teachers.

NAMC offers instruction in The Five Great Lessons in the Lower Elementary 6-9 curriculum as designed by Maria Montessori. With utmost respect for the diversity of our international student body, NAMC in no way requires that the Five Great Lessons be taught, and leaves the decision to the discretion of our students.

Recommended reading:
  • To Educate the Human Potential, Maria Montessori. Clio Montessori Series. ISBN 1-85109-094-0
Related NAMC blogs:
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, August 5, 2010.


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