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The Great Lessons play an important role in our elementary classrooms. The stories are meant to inspire and spark the imagination of the children. They are impressionistic and broad, creating the desire to explore the topics introduced in more detail. Through these lessons, children will be invited to dive into the study of chemistry, physics, geography, biology, botany, mathematics, history, writing, and more. It is truly limitless. 

Students at Intercultural Montessori are uniquely conscious of the world around them. They value and appreciate diversity and have a special awareness of other cultures. This makes the Great Lessons particularly meaningful as they discover more about our origins and interconnectedness. 

The Great Lessons include: 

  • The First Great Lesson: The Creation of the Universe
  • The Second Great Lesson: The Coming of Life
  • The Third Great Lesson: The Story of Humans
  • The Fourth Great Lesson: The Story of Communication
  • The Fifth Great Lesson: The Story of Numbers

The First Great Lesson: The Creation of the Universe

In the dramatic telling of the First Great Lesson, children will be filled with wonder. This lesson is intentionally one of the first experiences they have each year. The experiments, impressionistic charts, lighting, and dynamic story- telling make the experience truly unforgettable. Children are in awe as they hear about the stars and planets being formed.

Montessori Great Lessons

They are taken to our own planet Earth which was covered with spewing volcanoes before eventually undergoing a cooling process that left us with the continents and oceans we have today.  From this story, students are introduced to physics, geology, geography, chemistry, astronomy, and more. This early experience brings meaning and connection to the Montessori curriculum.

The Second Great Lesson: The Coming of Life 

Following the First Great Lesson, children are naturally left with so many questions. This curiosity prepares them to begin the study of how life came to our planet and evolved over time using Timeline of Life. The guide will bring mystery and anticipation to the experience by gradually unrolling the timeline, guiding the children through the different periods of time starting with the Cambrian Period and moving all the way through to the Cenozoic Era. Children discover that life began in the water and gradually moved to land and how animals adapted accordingly. They are finally able to visualize the small sliver of time that humans have been on our planet at the end of the timeline. The Second Great Lesson is the foundation of the rich science curriculum and connects new topics and areas of focus throughout the year.

The Third Great Lesson: The Story of Humans  

After discovering the fraction of time that human beings have existed on our planet in the Second Great Lesson, children are ready to learn more about their evolution. Starting with the very beginning of civilization, children will explore the ways humans have changed and developed. Because of the nature of our school and its heavy emphasis on culture, our students find this deeper connection to humankind especially fascinating.

The Fourth Great Lesson: The Story of Communication

As humans evolved, so did their need for communication. Children explore the earliest forms of communication and watch how it became more sophisticated over time. From the earliest cave drawings that have been discovered to Egyptian hieroglyphics to the development of the written alphabet, we get a glimpse of how communication has changed and developed. 

Japanese Montessori Work

Language is  a unifying bond for people throughout time and is particularly important to us as a language school. This Great Lesson lays the framework for the study of language in the classroom as children dive into reading, writing, grammar and more in both English and the target language. 

The Fifth Great Lesson: The Story of Numbers

Our final Great Lesson takes children through the history of numbers. Humans had a growing need to find a way to communicate numbers. Children will examine how numbers were recorded in ancient times, compare how different civilizations recorded the number one,  discover the invention of zero and learn about the development of our decimal system. This lesson acts as a springboard, propelling children into the various facets of our dynamic math curriculum.

– Sally Ness, Intercultural’s Oak Park Campus Director and Certified Elementary Montessori Teacher