Too often I ask teachers, "Have you done the Great Lessons?" and they respond, "No, not yet, because they can't read and write." I say, "Have you ever thought that maybe they only need ears to listen with?" How can we open for the child these doors into the cosmos if we don't give the Great Lessons until the year is half over?(end quote)
- children do NOT need to read and write - they only need to have ears (or ability to read sign language) and an imagination
- Margaret Stephenson: "The cosmic plan can not be fully explored at the second plane. It is too vast. That is why Montessori tells us to sow seeds. And after these seeds are sown, there has to be a period of silence, darkness, and rest, during which the roots grow deeper, before any shoots appear above the ground."
- There will be some results from the Great Lessons - subject areas open up, interests are enticed, the children receive a REASON for reading and writing --- but the most obvious signs will be seen in adolescence when they start asking of themselves their own place in this Cosmic Plan.
So tell those stories early in the year!
The 5 lessons should be told by the 8th week of the school year at the latest; preferably 5th or 6th.
Tell them EVERY year!
Throughout elementary, they will hear something new; invite them to pick a new point and explore it.
Do NOT give the children everything! Many of the original demonstrations from the first Great Lesson have been separated out from it into separate album pages for follow-ups; so the children have more opportunities for follow-up work, inviting them to delve deeper into the story with each new demonstration they do.
Entice their imaginations and enthusiasm for exploration - again don't give them *everything* - but do give them enough to get going on their own.
Have adolescents new to Montessori? Tell them the stories too! Have them help create some of the charts after they've heard the story without it; invite them to help prepare materials and demonstrations for the youngest children; and work on helping them answer their own questions of "where do I fit in?"