The Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment* designed to offer students a variety of works in the curricular areas of language arts, mathematics, practical life, cultural and physical geography, history, astronomy, chemistry, botany, physics, zoology, art, music and movement.
Student interest in the elementary curriculum is stimulated by the presentation of Montessori’s Five Great Lessons. These lessons provide a dramatic overview of our universe, our world, and the place of humans within it to spark student interest in exploring the curriculum.
Together, these five lessons tell the story of the origins of the universe and the Earth, the development of plant and animal life on Earth from the earliest life in the oceans through the appearance of mammals, the appearance of humans and the common needs of people, the development of written language, and the development of numbers.
In other words, children are invited to see how their school work ties into the wonders of the world (and universe) around them and how they might tie into larger questions such as where did humans come from and why are we here. This isn’t about career- and college-readiness (although Montessori education does prepare students for careers and college), but about individual self-development driven through innate curiosity about the world around us.
*More on the prepared environment in a later post.