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Assignment Module#11
1. Write a note on Montessori Cosmic Education and how it can be introduced
during the early childhood years.
An Introduction to Cosmic Education
Cosmic Education is a cornerstone of the Montessori Philosophy. At its core, Cosmic
Education tells the story of the interconnectedness of all things. It describes the
role of education as comprehensive, holistic and purposeful; to encompass the
development of the whole person within the context of the universe. It also
introduces the possibility that humanity might have a “cosmic task”, to better the
world for future generations.
Doctor Maria Montessori believed that Cosmic Education was vital to early
education because it provides children with a framework to understand their world
and their place within it. Children learn to respect studies of the past, develop an
understanding of ethics, and value the contributions of others. In this way, Cosmic
Education teaches children to become aware of the interdependence of all things,
and develop a sense of gratitude that comes from that awareness.
Within the Montessori classroom, Cosmic Education forms a platform for teaching
children to understand and adapt to their environment. In the first plan of
development (0-6), Cosmic Education introduces the child to the natural world
through experiences with nature and the sensorial learning materials. These
experiences teach children to refine their senses, and thus the way they process
and understand their world. These skills aid the child’s development, and
confidence with themselves, their society, and their world as a whole.
In the second plan of development (6-12), Cosmic Education introduces the child
to the repeating natural cycles in our world, the fundamental needs that all humans
share, and the connectedness of all living things. In the elementary years, children
begin to draw connections between how each particle, substance, species, and
event has a purpose in the development of all others. These “Great Lessons of
Cosmic Education” are taught as a whole curriculum to show children how all
content areas, such as the study of history, culture, science and the environment,
are all interconnected.
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Doctor Maria Montessori believed that children who received a Cosmic Education
in childhood were better prepared to enter adolescence as independent, socially
responsible, and emotionally intelligent individuals. This is because Cosmic
Education launches children into the world with a practiced understanding of who
they are as individuals, as members of the human race, and as citizens of the
universe. It also provides children with a deep understanding of their moral
responsibility to address global issues that affect humankind and the environment.
In Montessori, every moment is an opportunity to understand the integrity of the
universe.
Importance
Doctor Maria Montessori believed that the world was a purposeful place; and that
war, poverty and injustice, were deviations from that purpose. She believed that
Cosmic Education was a way to restore harmony and order, and thus allow
humankind to realize their true potential. In the twenty-first century, global
awareness, peaceful communication, and ethical cooperation are integral to
resolving global disputes. By providing children with a Cosmic Education,
Montessori empowers students with the knowledge to transform the world. As
Doctor Maria Montessori states: “The child is both a hope and a promise for
mankind.”

COSMIC EDUCATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD (3-6 YEARS OLD)


Most children 3–6 years old are very much absorbed in experiencing their
immediate environment. These children feel close to and connected with the
natural world. To lay the groundwork for cosmic education, it is enough f or
teachers to ensure that children experience nature as much as possible and
retain their connection with the natural world. It is important for teachers to
realize that in experiencing the natural world, the children are the teachers. Any
three-year old lying in the grass will see much more than a teacher will! The
teacher’s role is to not interfere with this experience, but allow it to happen.

To help the children retain their connection to nature and to appeal to their
developing senses, the Montessori equipment, materials, and activities involve
as much as possible natural materials such as plants, wood, water, and sand.
When teachers and children are working with these and other materials,
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teachers can link the materials to their origins. For example, the Montessori
Thermic Tablets, which are made of stone, wood, steel, and fabric, can be
described as coming from different kinds of matter produced by the earth.
Teachers can also discuss with the children what materials can be recycled,
where the materials came from, and how the materials were made, linking the
materials in the classroom with their origins in the world. At the same time,
teachers can indicate the role of human beings in the collection and production
of the materials. Even simple objects can provide rich material for cosmic
education. Examining and discussing a simple block of cedar wood, for example,
could guide the children to making many different connections.

Here is an example of dialogue from the teacher’s point of view:

 Look at this bread! Isn’t it beautiful? Won’t it taste good for our snack?
 Where does this bread come from? Further back than the bread basket in the
school, further back than the store where the teachers bought it, where does
this bread come from?
 So that we can have this bread today, last spring a farmer planted some tiny
wheat kernels in a big brown field. In the field, under the soft brown earth,
the tiny kernels would receive spring rains and warm spring sun, and the tiny
kernels would start to grow into tiny plants.
 Feel how warm the sun is on our faces today. The sun feels warmer every day
now that it is spring. The tiny kernels planted by the farmer would need lots
of warm weather like this to grow.
 Just like people, plants need water to grow. Put your fingers into the soil in
the garden. Does it feel damp enough for little wheat plants? We know that
the little wheat plants would need lots more rain over the spring and summer
to grow into big plants.
 At the end of the summer, the wheat plants will have grown big. They will be
tall and golden yellow, and they will wave in the wind. How much would the
wheat plants wave in a wind like we have today?
 After the summer, before the weather turns cold and rainy again, the farmer
will take the wheat from the field. While you are watching leaves turn color in
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the fall, the farmer will take the wheat to a big, noisy mill. There the wheat
will be ground between huge stones into soft, soft flour.
 The millers will sell the flour to bakeries, and the bakers will use their hot
ovens to make the flour into bread and wrap it into loaves. Stores will put the
loaves on shelves. Teachers will buy the bread, and children will eat it outside
on a bright spring day!
 Smell the bread in your hand. Doesn’t it smell good? It reminds me of that
bright spring day last year when that farmer planted those tiny wheat
kernels... Other focused activities can also be conducted outdoors. Each
activity presents opportunities to experience the connectedness of life.

For example, if the school has an outdoor area that can support even a small
garden, activities might include:
 Planning a garden, then working together to build it.
 Ordering or purchasing seeds or plants.
 Growing bedding plants.
 Planting flowers and vegetables.
 Arranging a schedule and assigning responsibility for tending and watering the
garden.
 Building systems for collecting rainwater to water the garden.
 Picnicking on the vegetables from the garden, then recycling the leftovers by
composting.
 Picking a flower and placing it in a vase for a special school occasion.

 Having a garden serves as an excellent real-life analogy teachers can use to


explain how all living things work together. Teachers and children can talk
about how worms aerate the soil for the plants while the decaying plants
provide food for the worms. This sort of example helps the children realize
how they too can work together to accomplish mutual goals. Some schools
hold outdoor events that celebrate a season of the year.
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Teachers and children can work together to include simple activities that involve
the senses:
 Creating a dance that mimics the unfolding of the season, choosing music that
conveys the sounds and changes of the season.
 Designing a walkway that passes by several “smell” features of the season,
such as in the spring a flowering cherry tree, a fragrant hyacinth, and
composted earth.
 Designing a walkway that shows several examples of seasonal wildlife, such as
in the fall an abandoned bird nest, a tiny hole burrowed at the base of a tree,
and a garden plant nibbled by a squirrel.
 Preparing and eating a simple, local seasonal food (e.g., carrots in the fall,
dried apples in the winter, and eggs in the spring) and talking about how it
came to be.
 Sitting in silence and just experiencing the sounds, smells, and sights of the
season.

Socially, most young children prefer to work on their own or just alongside others.
Teachers can enhance relationships between children by helping them interact
socially through cooperative, rather than competitive activities. Always giving the
children the opportunity to choose what they are ready for, teachers can also
gently encourage children to work together occasionally on projects that require
more than one person to complete, such as making a poster or acting out a play.
Teachers can also invite older children to read to younger children or teach certain
practical life skills.
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2. Discuss Montessori Peace Program and its importance.


An Introduction to Montessori peace program
To commit to the creation of a peaceful world is an exercise in requiring a broad
perspective and bottomless determination. The central message of cosmic
education- that the universe is a unified whole of interrelationships and
interdependence– suggests that the creation of peace requires effort in all spheres
of life. Relationships between individuals, communities, cultures, and the
environment must all be put on a peaceful path in order to transcend the
arguments, civil strife, war, and environmental degradation that currently
characterize so much of modern life. To help students realize the power and
responsibilities of each person, the Montessori curriculum stresses the integrity of
all of life. Through their studies, students see that individuals, communities, and
nations have changed the world before and will again, but it is only when the spirit
of peace pervades their efforts that the results are for the better. One of the major
goals of cosmic education is that seeking peace is the task chosen by Montessori
students as they take their places in society.
Students need to learn, practice, and develop skills in order to put that approach
into action. A Montessori education seeks to teach students, through daily
activities in the classroom, the skills to become peacemakers, people committed to
working toward peace, understanding, and non-violent ways of reducing or
resolving conflict. Giving students opportunities to see their own abilities develop
is the surest way to make students confident that they can make a difference in the
world. As teachers, everyone places an important role in inspiring students and
modeling peace behaviors that the students need to learn.
The Montessori Peace Place: An Important Part of the Classroom
The first year I decided to create a Peace Place in the Montessori preschool
classroom was about 10 years ago, and I was full of doubt as to how it would be
received by my students. The Peace Table itself was beautiful; in fact we had an
entire Peace Corner with a Japanese garden, a table water fountain, a basket of
beautiful river rocks, a chime, and of course, our Peace Rose! The Montessori
preschool classroom then was twice the size of the classroom that I am currently
teaching in, so it was easy to allocate an entire corner to our Peace Place.
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For the first couple of months, I wondered if the Peace Table was a success, as it
was taking a great deal of adult mediation to ensure the appropriate language was
being used and to ensure the conflict was being peacefully resolved.
Then one day in early spring of that year, one of my five-year-old students, Cassia
approached her friend, Emma and said, “Would you please join me at the Peace
Table?” The two girls sat down together and I simply stood back and observed the
magic unfold. The girls passed the Peace Rose back and forth and Cassia expressed
that she was feeling sad because Emma was working with another classmate
instead of her.
After much discussion, they decided to find an activity that all of them could do
together. The girls felt so proud to have resolved the issue and all three students
sat at the snack table together, tidied up and then each created a flag to take home.
It was amazing to observe these young Montessori students solve their issue
honestly and fairly and it is amazing how the Montessori Peace Table can help to
maintain a harmonious and cooperative atmosphere in the Montessori community.
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3. Write a comprehensive note on Montessori peace flower model and its


constituent four petals.
The Peace Flower- The Four States of Peace Awareness
There are, in fact, many forms and layers of peace. To think about what peace is
and how it can be practiced means analyzing possibilities for its application. The
Peace Flower diagram provides a simple, concrete framework upon which
Montessori teachers and parents can focus on.
There are, in fact, many forms and layers of peace. To think about what peace is
and how it can be practiced means analyzing possibilities for its application. The
Peace Flower diagram provides a simple, concrete framework upon which
Montessori teachers and parents can focus on.

Self-Awareness
Someone that is aware of how he/she is thinking, feeling, and behaving. It means
being mindful about thoughts, words, and actions.
Community Awareness
Someone is aware of other people in the community and the nature of
relationships she/he has with people, especially people with whom the person
interacts every day. Community radiates out from each individual to include
family, other students, teachers, school staff, shopkeepers, bus drivers, etc.
Environmental Awareness
Someone is aware of what the earth needs to stay healthy and how individuals,
communities, and cultures treat the earth.
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Cultural Awareness
An awareness and appreciation of the differences in people’s attitudes, beliefs,
practices, customs, and social behavior.
In the primary classroom, we will spend a significant amount of time on the first
petal of Self Awareness. We want to help identify and name all of the various
feelings the child will have, and help them know that all feelings are
okay. Continuing to move outward, we want to show them what appropriate
actions they can do with these feelings. We then want the child to begin to
contemplate and meditate upon their actions before they are performed.
While concentrating on the first petal of self-awareness, our overall goal is to help
the child move from a less egocentric state to one of community, environmental,
and ultimately cultural awareness.

The Peace Place


Dr. Montessori recognized children as the redeeming factor in the evolution of
humankind. The Peace Place is a designated space in the environment where
children can go to take a moment, calm themselves and work out a problem in a
peaceful way.
Our Montessori classroom is small so it has been a challenge to find the perfect
spot for the Peace Place, however, I am happy to say that I did! The table I chose is
away from the busy work area and right by a big window. The table is just the right
size; there are two chairs and on the Peace Table I have placed a beautiful vase with
a single rose.
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4. Prepare the any two of the following peace crafts and send to your tutor along
with the assignment.
 Origami Peace Crane
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 Peace Door Hanger


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5. Explain the following activities briefly in your own words:


 Introducing the Peace Flower
 Creating a Peace Place
 Something Good I have Done
 Practicing Conflict Resolution
 Saving Water

Introducing the peace flower


There are, in fact, many forms and layers of peace. To think about what peace is
and how it can be practiced means analyzing possibilities for its application. The
Peace Flower diagram provides a simple, concrete framework upon which
Montessori teachers and parents can focus on.
Self Awareness- Someone that is aware of how he/she is thinking, feeling, and
behaving. It means being mindful about thoughts, words, and actions.
Community Awareness- Someone is aware of other people in the community and
the nature of relationships she/he has with people, especially people with whom
the person interacts every day. Community radiates out from each individual to
include family, other students, teachers, school staff, shopkeepers, bus drivers, etc.
Environmental Awareness- someone is aware of what the earth needs to stay
healthy and how individuals, communities, and cultures treat the earth.
Cultural Awareness- An awareness and appreciation of the differences in people’s
attitudes, beliefs, practices, customs, and social behavior.
In the primary classroom, we will spend a significant amount of time on the first
petal of Self Awareness. We want to help identify and name all of the various
feelings the child will have, and help them know that all feelings are okay.
Continuing to move outward, we want to show them what appropriate actions they
can do with these feelings. We then want the child to begin to contemplate and
meditate upon their actions before they are performed.
While concentrating on the first petal of self-awareness, our overall goal is to help
the child move from a less egocentric state to one of community, environmental,
and ultimately cultural awareness.
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Creating a peace place


As part of our Peace Curriculum that is incorporated into our monthly studies at
MCS, this month each of the classes is engaged in a study of creating space for
Peace as we prepare to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st and
in honor of Maria Montessori’s extensive work in the field of Peace Education.
Studies show that a preventative curriculum that promotes communication,
community and self-advocacy is more effective than a punishing approach to
bullying in schools. Ours is a program that we expect will follow our students far
beyond their structured educational experience. We hope for and assist children in
the development of skills of peaceful conflict resolution, gaining respect for peers
and incorporating communal advocacy, taking in to account the needs of a
community and how one’s behavior affects another, and establishing a lifetime of
self-advocacy, self-love and self-respect.
Peace is a work rooted deeply in the approach in Montessori schools across the
world and Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three
different occasions as her passion for Peace Education led her to spread its good
word in various countries. Her legacy lives on as she is now widely recognized as an
advocate for peace and her educational philosophy is practiced throughout the
world.
“Peace is a goal that can only be attained through common accord, and the means
to achieve this unity for peace are twofold: first, an immediate effort to resolve
conflicts without recourse to violence—in other words, to prevent war—and
second, a long-term effort to establish a lasting peace among men” (Education and
Peace, Montessori, 1949, p. 27).
Montessori education addresses Peace in a variety of ways, encouraging children
to first develop inner peace. At its most basic level the Montessori method does
this by honoring the individual interests, passions and ability of each child, giving
children space to develop confidence with making mistakes as they explore and the
courage to fix mistakes, and inspiring them to be part of a community. Because
each student is recognized as an individual, you will find children working on a
variety of activities at any given time. This gives children space and encouragement
to accept that differences between humans exist at varying degrees.
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Inner peace gives children the foundation for supporting peace within their
classroom, school, social and family communities. Communities are an important
aspect of the Montessori philosophy in that there is an emphasis on the whole
person and learning to function within a community is essential to the success of
human endeavor. A successful community is made up of a variety of different
talents, strengths, skills and goals. As our students engage in peaceful conflict
resolution, modeled by the adults in the community, they learn to function as many
parts making up a whole. As they assist in the management of the environment,
including caring for the physical space, taking on important leadership roles within
the classroom, and engaging in group discussion about how to make change for the
better, students practice lifelong skills of considering others and building
functioning communities.
Some common Montessori terms/methods that directly and indirectly support
Peace Education include:
Cosmic Education is the child’s gradual discovery, throughout the whole of
childhood, of the interrelatedness of all things on earth, in the past, in the present,
and in the future.
Intrinsic motivation (versus rewards or punishment) is a desire to do for the sake
of doing with no expectation or even hope for an outside motivator.
Multi age classrooms allow children to play varying roles throughout their cycle in
a classroom, allowing investment in the environment and practice of various skills,
jobs and identities.
Follow the child means that each child is considered individually and opportunities
to further develop special skills and talents is honored along with opportunity for
extra, repetitive practice of more difficult tasks.
Class meetings and agenda books allow children to bring up issues or concerns and
decide, with adult guidance, how to overcome challenges as a group. It also allows
a sacred place for celebrating one another’s accomplishments.
Peace areas in each classroom provide a place for children to go when they need
to find inner peace. Meditation, breathing and various other exercises are
encouraged to help students look within.
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Outdoor education and care for living things (plants and animals throughout the
school and in each classroom) give children the opportunity to practice care for and
consideration of the needs of all living things and help them develop a love and
advocacy for our earth and all it has to offer.
Practicing conflict resolution
Elementary children who have been nurtured in the Primary classroom have an
obvious and similar background with the other children in the elementary
classroom of being treated with respect and honor, and have developed into
confident and competent learners from the aid and support of the Primary
Program.
Observers will notice in the Primary classroom, a child seems to work mostly
parallel to his peers, each on their own individual activity in order to concentrate
best. Elementary children, however, are entering a new period in their life and
have a strong drive to be social and collaborate.
Elementary Children Work Collaboratively and Cooperatively:
For this reason, most lessons and research projects in the elementary classroom
are done in pairs or groups of children.
Each day, the community setting of the elementary classroom allows the children
to practice social skills necessary to carry out their task by: delegating work, sharing
resources and materials, making group decisions, taking responsibility for actions,
and celebrating the success of peers. On the other hand, conflict is not uncommon,
but the motivation to resolve it comes from the children.
Learning to collaboratively and cooperatively work within a classroom community
adds countless value to the child’s education. Montessori is providing the child
significant life lessons with practical application for the home and in the “real
world” of high school, college, future career and marriage.
Saving Water
The World Water Day is a great springboard for Montessori activities in cultural
geography. Students of all ages can participate in activities that develop an
understanding of the geography of water, and the 2010 motto, “Clean water for a
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healthy world” can serve as a catalyst for further exploration of the importance of
clean water for people around the world.
World Water Day is a globally-recognized initiative that grew out of the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992. The decade between 2005 and 2015 has been named “Celebrating Water
for Life: the International Decade for Action.” There are a number of activities and
learning opportunities for you Montessori classroom centered on World Water
Day.
World Water Day: Montessori Classroom Activities and Opportunities:
In the Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten classroom, activities using the globe and
Land and Water Forms material can be introduced or revisited to familiarize
students with the geography and vocabulary of various water forms around the
world. These activities can then be extended to prompt discussion about the
importance of water in our daily lives, then further discussion about the importance
of clean, healthy water. Montessori teachers can then extend the concept to raise
awareness for water conservation, and for the challenge of access to clean water
in areas around the world, how children in these areas are affected, and what can
be done to help.
At the Montessori elementary level, students enter a sensitive period for
community care and service. Activities such as the water cycle and those covering
the earth’s hydrosphere and take on new meaning in the context of water
conservancy. World Water Day can be a springboard for taking action by identifying
ways in which students can conserve water at home, study how water is treated in
their community, and advocate for water protection and conservancy in their
community. A Montessori elementary classroom might even find a way to help
children in another part of the world that is directly affected by the absence of
clean water.