Montessori Great Lessons Resource Page

Maria Montessori created, what she called Cosmic Education. She believed that young children from ages 6-12 can and should learn about big things. The Cosmic Education starts with very big concepts and then over time, they are refined to teach the details. There are Five Great Lessons that start with the beginning of the universe and continue through ancient history. Each year in the Montessori elementary classrooms (and home schools) the students receive the same lessons, usually as a group. Each year the children will delve deeper into the details of each lesson. Over six years they will obtain this Cosmic Education that Montessori felt was so important.

I would like to share some resources I have complied to help explore Montessori's Great Lessons.

General Great Lesson Websites and Books

This is my favorite collection of Great Lesson resources. It contains all of the stories but they are not the original lessons. There are some images available along with follow up suggestions.

Wonderful resource that contains all of the original stories. This site also has several images available. 

This book is written more for parents than teachers. It explains Cosmic Education very well but does not include the stories. It does give lots of follow up suggestions.

Great Lesson #1: The Coming of the Universe

There are several names for this lesson. Traditionally it was known as "God with No Hands," it has also been referred to as "The Coming of the Universe," and simply "The Beginning". This lesson starts with The Big Bang and continues through the formation of the Earth and ends just before life begins.

Subjects targeted: Geology, Astronomy, Physics, and Chemistry

Great Lesson #2: The Coming of Life

This lesson starts where the last lesson left off and goes through time from the first bacteria and ends with the arrival of humans. Traditionally there is a Timeline of Life which is a graphic representation of the arrival of life forms over millions of years. 

Subjects targeted: Biology, Zoology, Botany

Great Lesson #3: The Coming of Humans

This lesson starts with the arrival of humans and continues through prehistory until just before the first writing appears. This lesson sometimes includes a Timeline of Early Humans or Humanoids. 

Subjects targeted: Biology, Archeology, History

Great Lesson #4: Communication in Signs

This lesson is sometimes called "The History of Writing." It is just that, a historical account of writing from primative cultures up to modern times. 

Subjects targeted: Ancient History, Culture, Language Arts

Great Lesson #5: The History of Numbers

This lesson follows the development of writing rather fluently in my experience. In the same way humans had a need for writing they also had a need for a standard number system. 

Subjects targeted: Ancient History, Culture, Mathematics

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