The Upper Elementary “cosmic curriculum” includes studies of human evolution, world civilizations, and early American history. Students progress through a self-paced comprehensive study of geography.
By the Upper Elementary years, most children have acquired a basic historical understanding connecting the effects of the natural world on the people who inhabit it, and the beginnings of critical thinking to identify, question, explore, and conclude.
Upper Elementary students continue the “cosmic curriculum” begun in Lower Elementary. Having used the Clock of Eons and Time Line of Life to explore the origins of our planet and the evolution of life on Earth, students turn their attention first to a search for their closest relatives. They place the human ape in the taxonomy of animals, and they then explore the fossil record for prehistoric relatives. In succeeding years, students compare and contrast world civilizations, and they learn about American history from prehistoric times through the colonial period. All of these studies include geographical components.
UE students progress through a self-paced comprehensive study of geography, including basic skills with topographic, relief, and road maps; latitude and longitude; map legends and scales; and the history of mapmaking including various projections. Geography studies culminate with independent studies of regions of the earth.Students explore various ways to represent the passage of time, and they learn about clocks, calendars and timelines. They learn that human beings, throughout history, have sought to understand our origins and our relationships. Dr. Montessori called this study a “cosmic curriculum” because it focuses on the common bonds among humans, and it offers an optimistic, forward-looking approach to global solutions. Teachers use dramatic storytelling to plant seeds of interest. Children begin to understand the impact of one’s personal history on one’s own development, and they start to apply that understanding to the role history plays in the development of culture.