Monday, July 2, 2012

Social Studies in Montessori


Where is "social studies" in Montessori? 

Montessori sure does shake things up! History is obvious, but let's discuss the other albums first. 

Our geography at primary is what we expect (maps, countries, capitals, flags), along with a great deal of cultural experiences. 

Our geography at elementary is what most schools consider "earth science" - physics, geology, chemistry and the like - including climactic zones (and which people and animals live where). AND it then adds in Economic Geography - how people connect with one another, most particularly in regards to the earth itself: source of our food, economic interactions and taxes. Within economic geography is where we get into community helpers that many schools make their entire 1st grade curriculum. 

Montessori, utilizing the precepts of cosmic education, emphasizes the link between the land (geography) and the people - who lives where, how they live and interact with one another and their environmental surroundings and the changes that take place... starting to sound like ecosystems in Biology, huh? ;) 

Within the language album, we look at the history and development of languages, literature, and modes of communication. We look at the biographies of authors, their times and lives, to provide us deeper insight into their choice topics, their writing styles, their beliefs - their inner souls. 

Within Mathematics and Geometry, we'll have the usual mathematical skills, but also have the Story of Numbers and various Geometry stories. These stories place mathematics and geometry in the context of history and within daily life - why are these subjects necessary and useful? How can we utilize these skills to be service to *people.*

Art and music are relatively obvious - these areas are not just about skills, but appreciation for the work of others. We study the history of artists and musicians in the same way we study authors - in the same way we study all of history: as a gift. 

History is the most obvious as far as social studies. Montessori provides a framework within which to study history, not from any one resource (i.e. a textbook), but from a variety of sources utilizing one's own developing reasoning skills to sort bias from fact and create one's own view of history, within the framework of gratitude for the gifts given us by those who came before us and responsibility to those who are with us now and those who will come after us - how shall we hold dear and develop the gifts we have been given? How shall we then pass on these gifts that are a living heritage from ancient times to the present. 

So you can see that social studies - the study of society, its people, its functionings and even the study of ourselves, truly is cosmic education, utilizing every aspect of a child's life, even outside these academic albums. 





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