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Montessori in a Minute: The Fourth Great Lesson (The History of Writing)

The Montessori Great Lessons

The Montessori curriculum teaches that the world is a place of purpose. During the Second Plane of Development (age 6-12), teachers help students recognize patterns in the world. A large part of the curriculum is discovering how each particle, substance, species, and event develops interdependently. The foundational lessons of the curriculum for the Second Plane are called “The Great Lessons”: The Coming of Life on Earth, The Study of Early Humans, The History of Writing, and The History of Mathematics. These lessons are introduced in an age-appropriate way to elementary classes and are retold with more detail at the beginning of each following school year.


The Fourth Great Lesson (The History of Writing)

The Fourth Great Lesson tells the story of something innately human: our ability to communicate, read, and write.


Teachers begin by explaining how our earliest ancestors used oral communication. Humans needed ways to ask for things they needed, warn each other, or even share good news. It was easy to speak to the people an arm's length away, but what about the group who would come after you? Written language connects us to our past and tells the stories of our shared history.


Students study the many different ways humans communicated from the earliest cave drawings to the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt to the first use of paper. Making reading more portable (not on large stone tablets or cave walls) made reading and writing more accessible for other people.


Societies worldwide built a global community through travel and trade, and groups like the Phoenicians and the Romans refined pictographs that used pictures to create alphabets representing letter sounds that we use today. Alphabets became universally understood and taught to the masses. Over time, people all over the globe were taught to read, write, and translate languages.


Many riveting lessons spring from the Fourth Great Lesson. The discovery of the printing press opens the door for literature, poetry, non-fiction works, and author studies. Understanding our communications history inspires our students to refine their writing ability and study elements of style, function, voice, composition, and letter writing. The study of language fascinates children to research the origins of spoken language, foreign languages, the history of languages, and modern speech.


The Montessori in a Minute Series

Montessori schools center around five key areas of learning in the Montessori environment: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture. This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of Montessori philosophy, its fundamental materials, and areas of the classroom. For all parents at Hudson Montessori School (Jersey City, New Jersey), the school hosts several Parent Education Nights a year to learn about the Montessori method and how the students learn curriculum components using a Montessori framework.


To learn more about Hudson Montessori School’s interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children aged 2 to eighth grade, contact us to learn more about us and our admissions process.




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