Friday, March 16, 2012

History - Introduction

Short story for Montessori history: 


Montessori history provides a framework in which ANY and ALL history can be studied. It is not a curriculum so much as an integration of humanity and human studies of all times and places. It is within history that we find cosmic education, our purpose for being here on this earth, and our place within the grand scheme of life. 




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The history program has to be integrated into cosmic education. History can’t be taught in isolation any more than any of the other subjects can be. It will be interwoven with geography, with language, with mathematics, with biology… that’s how the children will be exploring history: inter-connected with all of these other traditionally-thought-of subjects of the curriculum. 
         
If we focus on human beings through stories, language and math will fall into their proper places. Language of words and of numbers are simply and wonderfully achievements of human beings – so they fall into the Story. They are also tools in which we need to develop skills; they are necessary tools for exploring cosmic education, but they are not the two most important subject areas of the integrated curriculum. Separating those subjects out and forcing them on the children, rather than approaching them through interests and as tools, is a developmental hindrance to the children.

         While telling the stories about human beings, the adult presents the idea of human beings as both creation and creators. As a species, human beings have created through seeking the fulfillment of their needs. 

Sopranatura is the term Dr. Montessori used to describe the abilities of the human to go beyond the immediate environment, yet to use the environment to fulfill needs in unique ways.

As we study human history with the children, we want to help the children find their place in the world; find their place in the cosmos. We must tell them what life in the past was like so they can have an appreciation for life today and so they can start to look forward into the future and think about life down the road.

The Montessori approach maintains a large emphasis on the common person – the ordinary person. One of the reasons for this focus is that most people in the world are common, ordinary people. We want the children to understand that even we common, ordinary people have excellent contributions to make. We also want them to understand that the famous people could only do their work with the support of all the ordinary people. Between all those wars and behind all those famous personages, are nameless individuals who lived a way of life, held their loved ones, sang songs, learned from their elders, and above all, LIVED – so that we might live today – they had a culture, and they had a story to tell. That is the history that we study.





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