Jennifer Morgan, author of the “Universe Series,” just returned from the American Montessori Society 2010 Annual Conference and reports on her experience. The series consists of three books that tell the “great story” of our place in the cosmos, Born with a Bang, From Lava to Life, and Mammals Who Morph.
Author Jennifer Morgan (right) with Joanne Turner at AMS 2010
Over sixty years ago Maria Montessori observed that children ask cosmic questions during the elementary years — “Who am I?” “Where did I come from?” “Where did everything come from?” My own son asked those very same questions when he turned six.
That’s why Montessori developed the Cosmic Education Curriculum for the elementary level, considering it their “sensitive period” for taking in the story of the universe. In this curriculum the cosmic story is the context for all academic subjects, demonstrating the oneness of all creation, and placing the child’s primary orientation to life firmly in the universe.
Five Great Lessons comprise the story: 1) Story of the Universe, 2) Story of Life, 3) Story of Humans, 4) Story of Culture, 5) Story of Math — nested lessons inside the story of the universe. Maria Montessori is among the most important people to inspire me to write the Universe Story Trilogy.
I just had the great pleasure of meeting many teachers who are using the books in their elementary classrooms at the AMS 2010 (American Montessori Society) national conference in Boston. Many said they use the books every year and the students LOVE them. Ann Gavey, Rising Star Montessori, Alameda, CA, said that “A whole generation of teachers have grown up with these stories as their cultural framework or guides.”
It’s always so gratifying to get this feedback and to hear about the ways the series is used and that it is loved, so very passionately. I was also pleased to introduce the series to many new teachers who didn’t know about them and look forward to getting them into more classrooms where children can experience through storytelling the wonder and amazing grandeur of our universe.