No, we're not looking for Carmen Sandiego... Rather, where in the world is Walden? And, where do we live in relation to our school?
These are the questions the 1st and 2nd Grade children were posed with this week during our Fun Friday activity and exploration.
WHY? Maria Montessori believed that a Cosmic Education is necessary for children to develop a foundational sense of perspective. By starting with the whole (universe, galaxy, solar system) and working toward the parts (planet, continent, country, state, town, personal address) the child can begin to understand and conceptualize their place in the world.
WHAT? We started our lessons by reading a powerful, wordless text Looking Down by Steve Jenkins. With each page of the book, the author "zooms in" from space, narrowing in on a child observing a ladybug through a magnifying glass. The story simply illustrates the perspective we are looking to develop within the child's mind. We then explored several quintessential Montessori materials: The story Born With a Bang and the corresponding illustration cards & the Cosmic Nesting Boxes demonstrating Big Picture to Small Part of the universe. The students began to work on their own Cosmic Address booklet. We discussed Cardinal Directions and oriented ourselves in the classroom and on the school playground using a Compass and a Smart Phone version to apply our newfound sense of direction. Students practiced writing their home addresses in proper format. We then located our homes using Google Maps to figure out which direction we each live in relation to Walden and our distance from school.
Scroll down for more photos from our Cosmic Education afternoon...