Exiled to India during World War II, Maria Montessori developed one of the basic tenets of her philosophy of education. This tenet is what she called cosmic education. In To Educate the Human Potential (ed 2007 p9) Montessori said that, “the stars, earth, stone, life of all kind form a whole in relation to each other, and so close is this relation that we cannot understand a stone without some understanding of the great sun”. This interconnectedness, the interconnectedness of every element of the universe, is at the heart of cosmic education. As Dr. Montessori explains, “all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. The idea helps the mind of the child to become focused, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied having found the universal center of himself with all things”. Montessori believed that children who received a cosmic education would grow to have a clearer understanding of themselves because they had a better understanding of the natural world and their place in it. She also believed that children are much closer to nature than adults. Therefore, the ideas of cosmic education can be impressed upon them more easily so that they can grow up with an appreciation and sense of wonder about the natural world and keep it as adults. An awareness of the interdependence between humans and the universe and the sense of gratitude that comes from that awareness are absolutely necessary if a child is to grow into a peaceful human being. Montessori believed that providing a cosmic education to children would be a means to this end because children who are exposed to all the elements and forces of nature gain a sense of importance, purpose, and responsibility, which they carry into their adult lives. It was her belief that the future was in the hands of children and that their education would determine whether or not the future humankind...
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