October 8, 2021
There is a term in Montessori pedagogy called Cosmic Education. Maria Montessori used the term referring to the teaching of the elementary curriculum with an emphasis on making connections across the disciplines. A well known Montessori trainer described Cosmic Education as “a way to show children how everything is interrelated and interdependent … and the child finds that he or she is part of the whole, and has a part to play, a contribution to make.”
I am not a native Montessori, having come to the philosophy late in my professional career, but I have come to embrace the method as one of the best ways to educate children through middle school. Part of my reasoning is that we need to be teaching children, now more than ever, that the world is an interconnected place and we have an obligation to be part of the solutions to the challenges we face. The more a child understands that their actions have far-reaching consequences, and that they have the ability to foster change, the better the outcomes will be.
So in the spirit of interconnectedness, I had a “cosmic” moment the other day. There is a spot on our new campus where, if you stand there at 3:00 p.m., you can see every part of our student body: Toddlers are being escorted to rejoin their parents, Primary and Lower Elementary students are on the quad, Upper Elementary students are doing their last community circle of the day on the back field, and the Middle School students are hovering around their picnic tables. It was a marvelous feeling to see all of our children have the chance to be a community.
The pandemic has made this difficult. The separation of our campus made it nearly impossible. That moment, seeing the kids literally all around me, made me channel my inner Maria Montessori. I have named the spot where this observation takes place (it actually happens every day) the “Cosmic Corner.” It should remind us why we teach in a Montessori school, and why our families have made this choice. We are educating problem solvers in a peaceful community, and our children know they can make a difference—the Cosmic difference. Please join me any day at 3 o’clock on the Cosmic Corner.