GW Elementary I


The Organizing Principle of the Montessori Elementary Program

“… all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. The child is satisfied, having found the universal center of self in all things.”
– Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential

The Great Lessons are an important and unique part of the Montessori curriculum. These lessons are bold, exciting, and are designed to awaken a child’s imagination and curiosity. The child should be struck with the wonder of creation, thrilled with new ideas, and awed by the inventiveness and innovation that is part of the human spirit.

The Five Great Lessons are traditionally presented in lower elementary (grades 1-3), and are presented every year so that children see them more than one time. Unlike the 3-6 year old environment, where the child is introduced first to “small” ideas that gradually widen into larger concepts, the elementary child is introduced right away to large concepts – the largest of all being the beginning of the universe. Then they can be shown how all the smaller ideas fit into the larger framework.

Traditionally, there are Five Great Lessons that are used to paint a broad impressionistic picture before moving to more specific study. They consist of:

• First Great Lesson – Coming of the Universe and the Earth
• Second Great Lesson – Coming of Life
• Third Great Lesson – Coming of Human Beings
• Fourth Great Lesson – Communication in Signs
• Fifth Great Lesson – The Story of Numbers



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