If we look at Montessori’s cosmic vision through the planes of development, we see that each plane can be summarized in a phrase. The first plane is cosmic wonder and exploration. The second plane is cosmic stories and imagination. And the third plane is cosmic action and promise.
What does cosmic action look like for the adolescent?
From the many years of direct and indirect preparation at the previous Montessori levels, the foundation is set for the adolescent to embark on their “spiritual development, enhance their values as individuals and understand the times in which they live”. They thrive by self-constructing through intellectual stimulation, working together, and creating peace through meaningful advocacy.
Montessori refers to this age group as the Erdkinder (Children of the Earth), which engages the multiple environments of work and study of the adolescent:
- Sharing their passions with their community of peers.
- Learning about sustainability and micro-community within hands-on environments
- Providing service learning at local non-profit organizations
- Creating a business for financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills
- Visiting and working with students from abroad
- Leading the Montessori Model United Nations in New York City and other cities world-wide
These varied opportunities offer students avenues to learn, listen, explore, experience, and reflect about themselves and others. In turn, they are able to direct their energies towards cosmic action projects at home and abroad.
Adolescents are change agents.
I believe secondary students are seeking to lead by example and advocate for a better world. In other words, they are change agents. Their journey is to walk the path of positive advocates and peacemakers that Montessori imagined as adolescents take their place in society and offer a promise for our world.
Dr. Elisabeth Coe, Director of Houston Montessori Center
An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of people, the enhancement of their values as individuals, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.
~Montessori Education and Peace