I have always considered Cosmic Education to be a vital part of the Montessori Curriculum. However, previous to my training at MECR, I was unaware of its beginnings or its depth. That Dr. Montessori’s revelations on the unity and purpose of all things came from her time as, essentially, a prisoner of war, increases my respect for her as a person and a teacher.
The true genius of her development of Cosmic Education is its timelessness. Whether considered in the devastation of World War II, or the controversy of the War on Iraq, we as Montessori Guides can continue to apply the original Cosmic Education teachings to our children in hopes that they will be the generation to bring about peace between nations and the end of the destruction of our Earth. The five key elements of Cosmic Education follow the Montessori Method of moving from a whole to parts, and chart a clear path for the child to discover his own Cosmic Task. The first key element of Cosmic Education is the Unity of All Beings, the second is that Evolution is a Key Process in Life, the third is Interdependence in Nature, the fourth is the Cosmic Task of all Organisms, and finally the fifth—the Cosmic Task of Humanity.
Montessori has received criticism for its focus on Cosmic Education, as naysayers believe these elements to be beyond the typical Elementary age child. Aline Wolf counters this, saying “I believe the main thrust of all Montessori’s educational work was to nurture the spirit in children so that, as adults, they would become leaders in creating a better world. Cosmic education provides the ideal framework for this spiritual nurturing. It is comfortable because it accommodates people of any religious faith as well as those with no formal affiliation. It is energizing because it is up to the minute, exciting and challenging. And most of all, it is essential because it can lift us from mundane preoccupations to the significant purpose of human existence.” The opportunity to experience Cosmic Education is the greatest gift Montessori gives the child.
Please check back next week as we continue our discussion of the importance of cosmic education.