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Montessori in Minute: The Second Great Lesson (The Coming of Life)

The 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 Second Great Lesson: The Coming of Life

After the first lesson lays the groundwork of the universe, the second lesson focuses on the Earth and how it supports life. Teachers use a visual timeline to break down the entrance of all life forms: microorganisms, plants, prehistoric creatures and dinosaurs, animals, and finally humans.


The study of the water cycle, evolution, geology, paleontology, botany, and biodiversity spring from this lesson. While all students are exposed to each facet of The Coming of Life, the Montessori method allows students to focus on what individually interests them most and urges them to study more deeply and completely.


Students also explore a pie chart that breaks down the timeline of life on earth called the Clock of Eras, and personalizing the lesson, they create their own timeline of life.



Each classroom has open and robust discussions on each era, which cultivates many student questions. Teachers help students learn how to do research to find the answers. The class is introduced to the scientific process during this lesson and begins to see that many facts of the Earth’s formation only remain true until someone discovers evidence that proves otherwise. What’s beautiful about the scientific method is that today’s truths can be challenged and changed as we progress and learn more. There are many things we as a society don’t know, but the opportunity for discovery is endless.


The timeline of this lesson ends as human life begins on our planet, perfectly setting the stage for the Third Great Lesson: The Coming of Humans.


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 fifth grade, contact us to learn more about us and our admissions process.




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