DIY Cosmic Nesting Boxes are easy to make at home alternative to introduce Montessori Cosmic Education Classifications to kindergarten and elementary children.
A child is born into this world to a community, and Montessori Cultural and Science lessons, such as Montessori Cosmic Education Classification, teach little citizens that we are all part of a larger global community that is interconnected to all life on earth. For example, at first, a child recognizes his/her family and as s/he grows, the world around and the role the child plays in it expands. Montessori Cultural and Science curriculum starts with the whole (i.e. the universe, The Big Bang and the birth of galaxies) and works towards the parts (i.e. our planet Earth, the continent child lives on, home country, neighborhood, and so on), eventually leading to discussions of the anatomy of the body, atoms, and energy. Such a presentation, from broad to specific, allows a child to form a foundational sense of this big picture perspective in order to mentally organize new information. Within the big picture of the universe, everything the child learns is perceived as interconnected parts of a whole, so the information gains relevance, which is a crucial part of capturing a child’s attention and curiosity. In a traditional Montessori environment, you will see a gorgeous tower, consisting of ten nesting boxes with corresponding labels. As the word ‘nesting’ depicts, the nine boxes are nestled within the largest nesting box, and the presentation commences with the introduction of the largest nesting box. However, these Nesting Boxes are extremely expensive, so I am showing you a DIY alternative to present a Montessori Cosmic Education lesson.
“Let us give him a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions…. All things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. The idea helps the mind of the child to become focused, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied having found the universal center of himself with all things.”Maria Montessori.
DIY Cosmic Education Pink Tower
To illustrate this big picture perspective, we are using Montessori Prink Tower. (To learn more about the Montessori Pink Tower presentation, read here.) You would start from the bottom up, with your largest block representing the galaxy (the biggest). You can download for your personal use labels PDF here. Some labels such as “My Country” have a space for your child or you to fill and customize. Some of the books that we referenced while discussing this are National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space and National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas.
A simple version of this activity is presented in a Montessori classroom to children three to six years of age. Older children in a Montessori elementary classroom, ages 6- to 12-year-old, also use this same model during the lessons of “Cosmic Education” but they explore it in much depth. Cosmic Education during the “second plane of development” similarly begins with the whole (i.e. the universe) and works toward the parts, (i.e. individual cultures, history, geography, biomes, life forms, etc.)
DIY Cosmic Education Plastic Cups
On the other hand, if you do not have Montessori Prink Tower, you can use upside-down paper or plastic cups. Here, you would reverse the order: starting with energy and an atom on the bottom, and then gradually stacking the cups on each other, finishing with the Galaxy label.
HOW TO PRESENT Montessori Cosmic Education Classification Lesson
Begin a discussion with your child about the Galaxy and solar system and continue “zooming” in by describing the planet, continent, country, state, city, house address, and so forth. Explain to your child that this organization begins very broadly and becomes very specific.
By recognizing that we are all part of a larger global interconnected community, we can instill in our children an understanding that all humanity must be agents for peace, respect and harmony.
“Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.”Maria Montessori.
You can see this activity on Instagram here.
Montessori Cosmic Education Classification BOOKS
The 5 Great Lessons
A series of ‘Great Lessons’ are a cornerstone of Montessori education designed to foster a deeper understanding of the world around us and our place within it. They are an essential part of the ‘cosmic’ perspective or ‘Cosmic Education.’ Each story unfolds an element of the curriculum and deepens its meaning, showing the interconnectedness of the universe.
There are Five Great Lessons and each relates to certain learning highlights and a curricular focus.
|Great Lesson||Lesson name||Curriculum focus|
|1||Coming of the Universe and the Earth||physics, geography, astronomy, chemistry|
|2||Coming of Life||biology, zoology, botany, nature study|
|3||Coming of Human Beings||history, cultural studies and sociology, innovation and discovery|
|4||The Story of Writing||reading, writing, language, drama and the Performing Arts|
|5||The Story of Numbers||mathematics and geometry|
The Great Lessons narratives span the history of the universe from the origin of the solar system, earth and life forms to the emergence of human cultures and the rise of civilizations. Aided by charts, timelines, and scientific experiments, the child’s study of details in reference to the Great Lessons leads to awe and respect for the totality of knowledge.
Cosmic Education underpins the child’s knowledge and understanding of their environment and the world. It also introduces the possibility that humanity might have a ‘cosmic task,’ to better the world for future generations. This approach develops an awareness in the child that everything in the universe is connected and interdependent, forming a harmonious whole and that they are contributing parts to that whole.
Studies are integrated not only in terms of subject matter but in terms of moral learning as well. Such perspective leads to appreciation and respect for all life, moral empathy, and a fundamental belief in progress, the contribution of the individual, the universality of the human condition and the meaning of true justice. Children learn how to be true global citizens. There is an emphasis on research and in-depth study using primary and secondary sources as well as other materials. This involves children planning their own ‘outings’ and making use of community resources beyond the four walls of the classroom. (Info resource.)
Another great book is Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom. Each chapter outlines a Great Story, including the Story of the Universe, Solar System, Earth, Life, Humans, and Civilizations.
Have you downloaded my NEW eBook? It has everything you need to know to get started on your Montessori journey, as well as a CURRICULUM outline reference guide, the order of lessons, and the age when they should be introduced, in my opinion. See details HERE.
Also, check out HERE Homeschooling The Montessori Way Yearly membership in case you are exhausted from swimming in the vast ocean of irrelevant information and saving activities you never get to! I am here to help! WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!