This is a PowerPoint presentation I created in 2008 that I use when giving parent overviews of Montessori philosophy on the elementary level. It is timed so someone can be the narrator and not be rushed when speaking.
Montessori’s Great Lessons Created by M. Ansley Brown
The Great Lessons of Montessori are engaging oral stories that paint a broad, interconnected picture of knowledge and provide a framework for further, independent study for students. The Great Lessons give Elementary children the universe and invite them to wonder about it.
The Great Lessons are The Story of the Universe The Coming of Life The Coming of Humans The Story of Writing The Story of Numbers
This first presentation uses dramatic storytelling , experiments , impressionistic charts , and photographs to strike the imagination of the children regarding the origin of the universe. The Story of the Universe
It also arouses the children’s curiosity, inviting them to do additional research in astronomy , geology , meteorology , and geography . It is a jumping off point for later studies in physics and chemistry as well. The Story of the Universe
The Coming of Life is the second Great Lesson . The centerpiece of this story is a time line—the Time line of Life—that is unrolled during the presentation to impress upon the children the amazing diversity and developing complexity of life over time. The Coming of Life
The time line also is used to communicate the “cosmic task” of each living thing from microorganisms to humans. Studies in botany , zoology , ecology , physiology , and microbiology spring from this presentation. The Coming of Life
The third Great Lesson —the Coming of Humans—also relies on a time line, but its focus is on the special qualities of humans and particularly the development of tools. The Coming of Humans
It is used to impress upon children the fundamental needs of humans, how those needs have been met throughout time, and the contributions of various civilizations to the world we know today. Social studies explorations follow from this lesson. The Coming of Humans
The Story of Writing—sometimes called the Story of Communication in Signs—dramatically presents the evolution of written language and the desire of people throughout time to express themselves in written form. The Story of Writing
Picture sets and time lines help the children envision how alphabets and other pictorial representations of events came to be. They examine how words came into English from other languages, and they apply this knowledge to their own writing and reading. The Story of Writing
The Story of Numbers helps children see that mathematics and its applications and geometry are ways of communicating about quantitative concepts. The Story of Numbers
This Great Lesson shows the ways in which people have expressed mathematical ideas over time, with special emphasis on the development of the decimal system. This story anchors all the children’s work with numbers. The Story of Numbers
Montessori saw the interconnectedness of all living and non-living things on the planet. The holistic approach of the Great Lessons gives the gift of “the big picture” to children and offers many opportunities for students to explore for themselves aspects that they find personally fascinating.