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      Jennifer Morgan
      Participant

      Learnings from AMS in Dallas this Past Weekend!

      Dear Deep Time Friends,

      Montessori COSMIC EDUCATION is coming out of the closet. Developed by Maria Montessori and her son Mario in the late 40s, Cosmic Education has been taught for over sixty years, and until recent years Montessori Cosmic Education has been one of the best kept secrets. As one director of a teacher training program noted — the word “Cosmic” sounded a bit “loopy” and so we didn’t talk about it much, fearing it might be associated with the New Age movement. But it’s loopy no more, with the extraordinary recent science discoveries including Higgs, Inflation, and the showing of the Cosmos Series, the word cosmos is mainstream now and Cosmic Education is a distinguishing characteristic of the Montessori pedagogy. The most recent and best book on the subject is Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom, written by DTJN members Michael and D’Neil Duffy.

      Intense Interest Among Early Childhood Teachers in Cosmic Education In the workshop I taught, The First Great Lesson (the Story of the Universe): A Continuum Across All Levels, the room was packed, people sitting on the floor, attended by Infant Toddler through High School teachers and Administrators (Heads of School). Most attendees taught EC and EL. The Great Lessons, which are the centerpiece of Cosmic Education, are taught at the elementary level and it quickly became clear that many Early Childhood teachers want to know more about CE. It should also be noted that Maria Montessori and many educators feel that teaching the great lessons is appropriate at the elementary level, not earlier. The reason to train elementary teacher CE is for the teachers to prepare the students for what’s coming through values, such as gratitude, and experiences of awe and wonder.

      Nexus between Montessori Cosmic Education and Big History. Kyle Herman, teaches high school in a Montessori Charter school in Indiana subject to Common Core requirements. They are now teaching, he says, the Big History curriculum in the 7th and 8th grades and then students return to the usual breakout of chemistry, biology and physics in 9th through 12th. This way they can more easily satisfy the Common Core requirements. (Big History Members Cynthia Brown, Tracy Sullivan, and Lowell Gustafson, have you heard about others doing this? Kyle will write an article for the Network.)

      Need to Upgrade Some Montessori Materials Biologist, Dr. Priscilla Spears gave an important workshop about upgrading the Timeline of Life materials.

      Cosmic Education Values for the Early Childhood Through Elementary Levels. Member Michael Dorer gave a beautiful program delving into values and storytelling for the Early Childhood level that flow into the Great Lessons at the elementary level.

      Peace, Social Justice, & Environmental Respect in Cosmic Education, is the title of a program given by Member Michael Duffy, who with his wife member D’Neil Duffy wrote the book Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom. Again, I can’t stress enough that this book is a must for all interested in Cosmic Education whether in a Montessori or other kind of school.

      What did you take away from the conference, if you were there? Or if you weren’t there, what are your thoughts too?

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