The goal of Cosmic Education is to guide the child toward an initial examination of the question “Who am I”
-Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom -Michael and D’Neil Duffy
I know how to provide Quentin (14 months) with a developmentally appropriate prepared environment. It’s easy for me to make/purchase materials that facilitate the sensitive period he’s passing through.
Anthony is a different story. A boy who at 12 stands taller than me. A boy who sometimes hides behind a tough persona when surround by others his age, but still seeks hugs before climbing into bed every night. What do I do for a boy that is a man who is a child?
Cosmic Education beginning around the age of 6 and progressing through to the age of 12 was in short, Maria Montessori’s way of tying all the subjects of study in a classroom to the bigger picture so to speak.
We are at the end of that journey. Anthony knows the 5 Great Lessons.
But how do we implement them into his life?
The answer is simple. We walk. Or to be more precise we hike.
This is made all the much nicer by the fact that we live in a rainforest on an island in the Pacific. Yes, although it may shock some of you, Canada isn’t all ice, and houses made of snow.
Yesterday Anthony and I hiked to one of our favourite beaches. It’s a 2km hike through the forest.
Some of the trail is board walked but most of it is rugged terrain and leaves us sweating. The trees are old. Very old. Some of the fallen ones support their own biome with the growth of new life. Excellent fodder for conversations about the universe.
You come through the forest and descend a long staircase that empties onto the beach. There’s a waterfall that falls from the forest above onto the beach below. It’s beautiful and quiet with the exception of the waves crashing onto the beach. We laid out a blanket and our packed lunch in the shade of the cliffs.
We talked. I listen a lot and try to observe the boy that is changing. His body hasn’t grown at this rate since he was an infant. In fact Montessori likened this age to infancy. The child is deconstructing itself in order to build a new self. An adult self.
After lunch we walk the beach and stop at the waterfall.
Even the biggest boy can become the little boy when presented with water and dirt.
He needs a Guide more now than even perhaps in his first years.