Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Cosmic Curriculum?
The philosophy of Cosmic Education was developed by Maria Montessori and her son, Mario Montessori, while they were under house arrest in India during WWII. It was at this time that Dr. Montessori was able to expand her educational philosophies to the elementary-age student. Cosmic Education seeks to provide a framework within which the elementary student can answer the questions, “Who am I?” and “How do I fit?” Within this framework, the student also comes to understand the interrelatedness of all living things and to study the concept of humanity.
An integrated curriculum of history, geography, and science is the backbone of the Montessori Cosmic Education in the elementary classroom. This integrated curriculum is presented through the “Great Lessons” developed by Dr. Montessori for the elementary-age student. Dr. Montessori believed that it was from these five Great Lessons that the rest of the elementary curriculum expands.
The Great Lessons are:
- The Story of the Universe
- The Time Line of Life
- The History of Language
- The History of Mathematics
- The Time Line of Early Humans
Through attention to the Great Lessons, students are presented with "the big picture", which provides a context within which they can organize all that they are learning. The lessons are presented in story form, and with great reverence, in order to inspire students to further study.
Suggested reading about Montessori’s Cosmic Education:
- Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom by Micheal and D’Neil Duffy
- To Educate the Human Potential by Maria Montessori
Do the children have homework?
Homework at Montessori of Macon is a natural opportunity for the child to continue to develop as a motivated, self-disciplined, and independent learner and in so doing continue his or her internal work. Montessori of Macon believes that home is for nurturing this internal work. Therefore, as the child develops, he/she should be encouraged and provided with opportunities that reflect the true life of the home, such as self care, the needs of the family, and wider cultural explorations and experiences. As the child develops into the upper levels, some assigned “homework” in the sense of academics is an extension of the classroom curriculum and independent research. This “homework” is not a substitute for the work of the child in the home but an opportunity for the parents to be directly connected with facilitating the academic empowerment of the child. Such “homework” is not a tool to teach a new skill but is a way to reinforce given concepts, to foster a love of learning, and to develop home study skills.
With freedom of choice in the classroom, how do I know that my child is getting a balanced education and not just molding playdough?
Although playdough is a great tool for developing fine motor muscles,
concentration, creativity, and emotional centering, the teacher must act
as a guide toward purposeful work. To do this the children are invited
to a myriad of lessons that are appropriate for their developmental level.
Each lesson is presented in a way that engages, allows for the tactile
manipulation of materials, and sets up a process which the child can repeat.
As the children get older, they collaborate with the teacher in setting
daily goals that are aligned with topics for research, skill lessons and
personal interests. The integrated Cosmic Curriculum also ensures that
the student is learning in all subject areas. The Montessori Method encourages
freedom within limits.
Does Montessori of Macon participate in standardized testing?
Yes, according to accreditation standards, children are given the Iowa
Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) at the third through 8th grade level. While
recognizing that standardized tests have limitations in giving a complete
picture of a child’s development, we concede that test-taking is a practical
life skill needed in other non-Montessori institutions. The faculty uses
the ITBS test as a tool for identifying student difficulties and for curriculum
Is financial assistance available?
Yes. Scholarship monies are allocated on a financial need basis. An application for scholarship assistance may be considered after a family has observed in the classroom and has submitted an Application for Admission.
Information on other avenues for financial assistance and loans is available
in the school office.
How is discipline handled at Montessori of Macon?
When a child is “acting out”, the Montessori teacher must ask the question “Why is this child discouraged?” A child may be discouraged in several ways:
- Academically discouraged: The work is too difficult and the child lacks understanding or, in the reverse situation, the work is not challenging. In either situation, the teacher makes necessary adjustments in the lessons given and the goals that are set in collaboration with the child.
- Socially discouraged: There is a conflict with a peer. The teacher reminds the child of the tools for conflict resolution and the use of the “I” message. The child is given the opportunity to resolve this themselves. A teacher or peer will mediate if necessary. The child feels isolated and/or disconnected. In this situation, the child is given vocabulary necessary to initiate interactions.
- Emotionally discouraged: The teacher comforts, listens, and validates the child’s feelings and asks the child to verbalize possible solutions.
- Physically discouraged: “Acting out” is often a sign that the child is not feeling well physically, or is about to become ill. The teacher will monitor, provide a space for rest, and call the parent if necessary.
Montessori of Macon believes that every child has the capacity for self-discipline and order, given a highly structured environment rather than a structure externally imposed by an adult. The environment is set up so there are natural consequences and a set of ground rules that all of the children help construct and in which they are all invested.
The teacher’s role with regard to discipline is to protect the work of the child. Invariably, there are times when a child acts impulsively, and may need to be removed from the classroom environment. Repeated infringements on the peace of the classroom are handled on an individual basis dependent on age and circumstance. Montessori of Macon always endeavors to do its utmost to help the child function peacefully in the environment. Sometimes a family may be referred to an expert for further intervention. However, the school has the right to dismiss a child if it is determined that we cannot meet the needs of this child while protecting the integrity of our program.