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Big History in Montessori Adolescent Programs


Kyle Herman

Levels: Elem & Sec, ages 6-18

Available Now!  2 PD Hours

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How does Big History fit into a “Deep Time Learning Spiral” that starts in early childhood and spirals up through the secondary level and beyond?  This presentation explores the purpose of Cosmic Education in Montessori philosophy and shows how Big History can be used at the secondary level to promote the same ecological, humanitarian, and spiritual outcomes as the Cosmic Curriculum does in elementary.   The lecture webcast discusses philosophy and practice.  Philosopher covers the importance of Cosmic Ed and Big History in the overarching goal of furthering the development of a new humanity.

From Big History to Big Future

By studying our Origin Story, we are better able to take on our Cosmic Task as a species, and as individuals and groups.  Through the Big History thresholds, we see how each new threshold emerges as new and surprising partnerships come about that open the way to higher levels of complexity that never existed before.  Is a new threshold emerging in our midst today?  By studying a grand narrative of the universe we see the patterns of transformation.  And that can propel us today toward greater cooperation, not only with other humans but with our whole planet, opening the possibility of a new threshold in the evolution of our precious planet.

You will learn about

  •  Transdisciplinary and transformative purposes of education
  •  Key experiences
  •  How Cosmic Education naturally leads into Big History
  •  How to meet graduation requirements AND inspire students with Big History
  •  How Cosmic Education, Big History, and the work of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme flow together
  •  Combining manual and intellectual work at the secondary level
  •  Aligning the Cosmic Education Great Stories with the Big History Thresholds and the Required Sequence
  •  How Big History prompts spiritual questions that can be discussed in the classroom
  •  How Big History nurtures optimism about the future

Student Interviews

In a short 12-minute video students answer these questions:

  1. How has Big History’s transdisciplinary approach affected your learning?
  2. Have you been able to reconcile the scientific claims of Big History with your own spiritual or religious beliefs?
  3. How has Big History affected your view of humanity and its place in the universe? (5:19;23)
  4. What is the meaning of our modern origin story?
  5. Does Big History offer any direction for the future of our species?



Kyle Herman has been a Montessori teacher and academic advisor in an adolescent program for 11 years. He earned his NAMTA certification for Adolescent Studies in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University in English with a concentration in Writing and a double minor in Philosophy and History.  “Deep Time Education,” Kyle says,  “is important because it helps students both broaden and deepen their understanding of who they are, how they came to be, what they’re a part of, and why they are here.”

See numerous articles by Kyle Herman by clicking on resources on his profile.  Here’s the link to his profile:

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