Friday, February 01, 2013

The Purpose of Montessori Cosmic Education

NAMC the purpose of montessori cosmic education children laughing together
Children in the second plane are full of wonder and curiosity about life
“Cosmic Education is intended to help each of us search for our cosmic task as a species and as individuals. To do this, we must understand ourselves in context. It is only against the background of our place in the universe, our relationships with other living organisms, and our understanding of human unity within cultural diversity, that we can attempt to answer the question, ‘Who am I?’” (Michael & D’Neil Duffy, Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom.)

The second plane of development (age 6–12) is full of wonder and awe as children discover answers to some of life’s most basic questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? Montessori’s Great Lessons attempt to give children the keys to discovering more about the universe and life on earth.

The Purpose of Montessori Cosmic Education Looks Toward the Future

“They (children of the first plane) have already absorbed the immediate environment and the restricted society they and their families have dealings with. You must try to give the child what he now longs for: the understanding of the world, how it functions and how it affects the life and behavior of humanity.” (Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential.)

Dr. Montessori went a step further and said that, in order to truly prepare children to live in the world, we need to prepare them for the future as well. So important was this vision of the future that Montessori created her cosmic curriculum with the idea that only through children was there hope.

Montessori believed that by teaching children to recognize the interdependence of all living things, she would help them develop consciousness of their place on earth. With the idea that the Great Story, from which her Great Lessons are conceived, is not yet fished, Montessori portrayed humans as coming into a new era: the Ecozoic Era. Coined by Thomas Berry, the Ecozoic Era is the idea of a time when humans live in unity with one another and tend to their cosmic task of earthly stewardship.

NAMC the purpose of montessori cosmic education children standing together
For real peace, there must be harmony among people
Having lived through both World Wars, Maria Montessori desired a world of peace. She knew that for there to be real peace, there must be harmony among people. The commonality of our humanness is the uniting factor in face of the diversity found throughout the earth. In fact, during talks around the world Dr. Montessori is quoted as saying:

“True peace makes us turn our thoughts to the triumph of justice and love among men, to the building of a better world where harmony reigns.” (1932, Geneva)

“Preventing conflict is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.” (1936, Brussels)

“Education is the best weapon for peace.” (1937, Copenhagen)

These two outcomes — harmony and peace — are Montessori’s vision of Cosmic Education. They are integral to the Montessori method and are as relevant today as they were when Montessori first developed them.

“Cosmic Education results in creative attempts to lead a new and different kind of human life, with responsible participation in all natural and human phenomena.” (Camillo Grazzini, 24th International Montessori Congress 2001.)
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 Friday, February 1, 2013.


  1. I loved Children of the Universe. A great explanation of Cosmic Education.


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