|Children gain a concrete understanding about whole to part using matryoshka dolls.|
Not just limited to the preschool child, stacking and nesting materials help the elementary child classify and order abstract concepts by providing concrete, visual representations that they can understand easily. In a previous blog, we discussed how Russian matryoshka dolls can help upper elementary students learn about advanced biological classification. Stacking boxes can also be used at the lower elementary level to learn about the child’s place in the world.
Montessori Lower Elementary Whole to Part: Geography, Biology, and Cosmic Education
Montessori’s lower elementary curriculum focuses on the BIG cosmic questions that LE children ask: Who am I? What am I? Where did I come from? Big questions require BIG answers and Dr. Montessori believed in satisfying this natural curiosity by giving the child the history of the creation of the universe. The First Great Lesson, also known as the story of God Who Has No Hands, tells the child the story of the creation of the universe. The remaining Great Lessons take the child through the wonderful journey of exploration of the history of the earth, the coming of living things, the history of humans, and the development of math and language.
|Children are an integral part of the universal whole|
I recently saw stacking boxes used to concretely demonstrate Dr. Montessori’s method of delivering the whole (universe) before the parts (planet, continent, country, city, etc.). Since the universe is the foundation of life, it is the bottom-most box. The tower ends with a small figure of a person to very simply and concretely demonstrate the vastness of the universe and the child's place in it.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, January 4, 2013.