a time for cosmic education - learning in an existential context
As children enter the second plane of development, Montessori observed the dissipation of what she called the 'absorbent mind' unique to the first plane and the emergence of a new kind of capacity that saw children develop the ability to transcend space and time and to grasp deeper concepts. This passage of time was marked by increased creative powers and a desire and drive for cognitive and/or intellectual independence. She referred to this as the time of the reasoning mind.
During this time, Montessori primary prepared environments offer a deep, diverse and integrated series of experiences that provide a doorway to, orientation within and an understanding of, the universe and more importantly, the child's place in it. Montessori called this multi-layered, transdisciplinary approach, Cosmic Education. Through the telling of 'Great Stories', the use of impressionistic charts, experiments and timelines children come to express awe and wonder at the world they live in. This is explored through all subject areas with a focus however not on the segregation of studies but rather providing the possibility for children to work on areas as part of an integrated, interdependent whole.
These years between six and twelve are a time of great social sensitivity, a socio-academic stage marked with a heightened awareness of morals and to justice providing a wonderful opportunity to work with, if not massage conscience. It is during this time that compassion and empathy hold deeper meaning.
the primary years experience
It is in Kanyini that children begin their 'cosmic education' experience. Developmentally, it is a time of construction as children are, at their own pace, transitioning out of the first, absorbent/sensorial phase of life into the second plane, where we see the evolution of a more reasoning and creative mind... It is also a time of great social sensitivity as this young community begins daily to play with moral constructs & justice.
As children complete the first cycle of primary, many basic skills are finding greater fluency, becoming more integrated. This second cycle is one of consolidation, further exploration and application.
Children throughout Montessori experience an intentional process that guides them from the concrete and tangible towards the abstract. This process commences in the early years & continues. It is a didactic process that supports understanding as opposed to memorisation...from a place of deeper understanding, one, if they so choose, can then use what they have internalised to innovate.
We are currently in the planning stages for the future growth and development of the learning continuum at CCM. With this in mind, we will shortly be opening up the discussion with our community about the adolescent years in particular the first cycle for children ages 12-15. At the initial community consultation meeting, we would be looking at exploring an innovative 3-5 year strategic vision for this project.