Entry: Kristin Tarnowski

LC15 – Oregon, USA

An 8-year-old child in Kristin’s class wrote a poem titled, “I Am From”

I am from trees.
I am from the wind
whistling in my ears.
I am from rocks, ugly and beautiful.
I am from flowers.
I am from dirt.
I am from bushes.
I am from seedlings.
I am from plants.
I am from monkeys.
I am from lions.
I am from tigers.
I am from cheetahs.
I am from cats.
I am from dogs.
I am from frogs.
I am from land creatures.
I am from water creatures.
I am from nature.
I am from friends.
I am from family.
I am from love.
I am from faith.
I am from kindness.
I am from sorrow.
I am from stars.
I am from planets.
I am from moons.
I am from pictures.
I am from fun.
I am from math and language.
I am from writing.
I am from the world.
I am from the Universe.
I am from me.


There was an experience in a Montessori classroom in which a seven-year-old child who was learning about the solar system sat in silence, listening to the lesson about the planets and the Universe. When the lesson was complete, she stood up and said, “I am on a planet!” The excitement built up in her until she started jumping up and down saying, “I am on a planet, the earth is a planet, and I am part of it!”

Entry: Marsha Snow Morgan

Faculty (LC1 – Christchurch, New Zealand)

One of our five year old granddaughters was working with some of the pictures from Our Planet, Our Home. She was attracted to one particular picture and wanted to know what it was. I explained that it is about something that no one has ever seen but gives an idea of the Universe Beginning.

“Oh, the Universe, that is me!”

Entry: Kathleen Miszuk

LC18 MT – La Jolla San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

One area in which I believe the Montessori materials do not provide a framework or guidance in orientation is that of locating human beings within the functioning of the biosphere. Mario Montessori (1957/2003) emphasized that when educators present humankind to children, they should not present human beings as something abstract, as a “sort of God” which “looms beyond and above everything else” but rather in some sort of context, as “one of the many organs that function in a far greater organism” (p. 3). Mario Montessori elaborates further, reminding educators of the relationships humans have with the rest of the natural world: that human life depends on everything from minerals and water to plants and animals and that plant and animal life is likewise dependent on the actions of humans.


LC17 – Vermont, USA

Indeed, over the course of my own practice with the Montessori materials and lessons, the materials seemed nearly always reflective of life’s greater lessons and processes. Though it seemed they were in some ways directed toward specific cultural trends, I observed an apparent element of generalization to most of the lessons that offered the child a developmental foundation from which to more deeply explore the world.


It seems that the preparation of the guide is what really comes into play here. I suspect that the act of paring away our masks and judgments, our old cultural habits of dominant interaction with children, and attempting to be as genuine and as respectful as possible might act as a sort of natural “control of error” in complex and dynamic interactions.

Entry: Joseph Karr

LC19 – Massachusetts, USA

Havel went on to state, “Living in truth is the simple (though not always easily achieved) course of opening ourselves up to uncertainty, discovering the edge between our individuality and the universal, and acting from the discovery” (p. 44). This quote really spoke to me, and I believe it is saturated with complex potential and deep context. Discovering the edge between our individuality and the universal—to me, this is one of the main goals of this journey called life. Understanding the truth, which is lived in the moment, holds us together, fosters kinship with all creatures, and expresses the individual’s connection with the whole. It is critical for sustained ecological awareness and discovery into the greater context that lies beyond ourselves.


If students are engaged in learning about their cosmic origins, the truth of our existence as universal beings, and understand they are living parts of an interconnected dynamic web of life, and this awakening is at the forefront of a new emerging paradigm shift that could potentially affect all of humanity, how will these students’ actions differ on a large scale? What exactly will be gained with such an education? Is it worth the effort of transforming the current educational systems we are so used to? And finally, how can we expect other societal norms—the political, economic and cultural systems we are used to, to change with a new cosmic education?

Entry: David Evans

LC21 – The Hague, The Netherlands

The new cosmos story suggests that we are all constructing meaning in order to incorporate our human existence into the interrelationships of the web of life. How do the social interactions within a school culture influence the way we make meaning of the interpretations of living within the patterns inherent within the web of life? The culture we share provides a system of meaning and significance through which we develop ideas related to nature, and to others, that enable us to acknowledge and accept the fact that humans share the web of life. The belief in the process of constructing meaning implies an integrated and holistic view of knowledge. This is complementary to the healthy image of both the Earth and the child as an integrated whole. The new cosmos story explains life through interconnectedness. The integrated whole implies that a healthy relationship is one that exists between the interpenetrated wholes of child and Earth. These ideas, put together, provide the framework upon which a new story can be constructed.


Maybe this Our Planet, Our Home exercise is an authentic approach through which education can really begin. Through dialogue related to the context children create with the manipulatives, a “door for education” is opened for building trust within a learning community.

Entry: Linda Engelhart

LC24 – Colorado, USA

Jennifer Schriber (2014) said: I am beginning to see teaching as improvisational, almost a creative art in the sense of finding a way that it not too determined, nor so random as to be meaningless. I love this! A true Montessori classroom is truly like jazz improv; one never knows exactly how a day is going to turn out.

Entry: Laura Francis

LC24 – Massachusetts, USA

Integrative learning is cosmic education for adult learners: practical education, life experience, academic preparation, observation, self-reflection, philosophy, art, science, appreciation and human relationship woven into a beautifully unpredictable, inevitably inextricable and ever-evolving web of information about life. It involves all the senses in experiencing the world around us and fosters a sense of connectedness between ourselves and everything else in the Universe.

Integrative learning, when realized, practiced and appreciated, becomes a mindset. It becomes natural to begin to see all facets of life as a harmonious team of teachers. We realize that we learn as much, if not more, from life experience, personal and professional connections, and our own self-realization as we do from the great minds we study across subject areas, practical applications of academic skills, and producing work for meaningful assignments. It opens the mind and allows one to look at the world in a different way.

It is applied in the way that we relate to the living world, the natural environment and the people around us. It impacts the way we view the education of children and affects the way we teach. Although I am Montessori trained and a whole-hearted believer in the method, being involved in this integrative learning program has altered my awareness of my class. My priorities have shifted, and I allow space for the ebb and flow of chaos and order to occur while maintaining a heightened state of observation and flexibility. Like Montessori education, integrative learning concerns itself with the growth of the whole person. I feel enlightened and prepared for the future in a way that I never felt before.


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