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Cosmic education One material among many

The globe

Do it yourself! Dibbling tomatoes

Earth Day

“Who said that You cannot change the world?� 2013/2 1

Let the sun shine! Children learn how to be aware of the environment by copying what they see around themselves. In everyday life we can do many things that can be a good example to our children: we can collect the garbage selectively, we can make toys and presents from reusable materials, we can eat consciously, we can take good care of our garden. After the long and grey winter months we long to be outside. We can spend more and more time in the fresh air, where gardening can be a beneficial and joyful activity. We sow seeds, plant seedlings – in pots, window-boxes or in the garden. We nurse the plants together with the children. During these gardening sessions the children can observe how the plants grow, they learn about new things, and their vocabulary gets richer, too. When it is time to harvest and eat the fruit and vegetable from our own garden it is a great experience and the children are so thrilled to be part of it. It is simply enjoyable as well, just to see the flowers or the blooming trees in our garden. By helping in the garden children will be directly attached to the flora and fauna. They get to know and understand the different phenomena, with them being active gardeners they add to taking good care of the environment. In the spring edition of Montessori World we talk about the cosmic education and how to teach children to be aware of the environment. Eszter Kovåcs


Cosmic education

“Children are the builders of our future world.” (Maria Montessori)

The development of the child is moved by an inner force. An urge to get knowledge. Early development is basically the same for all people. We crawl before starting to walk. First we form certain sounds and only after that we start to talk. There is an inner motivation in every child to develop, to know more about the surrounding world. That is why we always have to provide the possibility for the child to play freely. Montessori saw every living thing as connected parts of the Cosmos. Each of them takes their part in the development of the world. A worm, for example, is not only eating because of hunger but because by doing so it makes the soil richer. Every organism has a greater aim. This is not only true in connection with the plants and animals but the human beings as well. This is why Montessori emphasised cosmic education. The name “cosmic” does not refer to a school subject but to a broader type of teaching. Cosmic education contains the following subjects: zoology, botany, geography, biology, astronomy and every other connected with these topics. Children are interested in the world around them, but they will only respect the environment by understanding how things work and how everything is connected. The best way to acquire knowledge is by having a lot of different experiences. This is why children get the opportunity to work and learn with the help of the cosmic materials in every Montessori school. Besides the well-developed Montessori materials the best “curriculum” is our natural environment itself. It is of great importance for the child to see with his own eyes and to touch with his own hands the different plants and animals; to take part in nursing the plants or animals around him. This way children can

experience a lot; see how the plants grow day by day, by watering and replanting them. They can observe the developmental stages, name the parts and can learn about the different types of plants and their special needs to be grown. We can also build birdhouses and put out bird feeders, which gives us the possibility to watch the birds closely. We can learn a lot about them by observing their behaviour; we can see whether they stay for the winter or migrate. We can widen our knowledge about the characteristics of the various kinds, the differences between the way they look and the behaviour of the hen and the cock; we can learn the names of the bird’s body parts, and also the names of the different kinds of birds. Today’s children (especially those living in big cities) are moving further and further away from nature. On a standard school day they learn about the jungle animals during a biology lesson, half a year later they learn about the continents’ weather during a geography lesson, and then after a while they learn about how people migrated through Africa during a history lesson. On “Earth Day” they may get some information about the importance of not using too much paper, since the way to get paper is by cutting trees. The aim of the cosmic education is to show the link between all these subjects, to see everything as a whole. The information is given to the child from different angles, to make it easier for them to understand and see the connection between all the subjects. We teach our children that we are also part of the world, and that is why it is really important to take care of our environment. We want them to understand that they are the builders of our future world. Eszter Strausz


One material among many:

The globe The children’s first encounter with geography starts with using the bi-colour globe, which is to help them learn the difference between water and land. On this globe the water area is painted blue and is smooth, while the land area is covered with rough, brown sandpaper. After learning the notion of water and land, the children can widen their knowledge about the Earth by using the bi-colour globe’s “sister”, the colourful globe. The children learn the names of the continents and their positions on Earth with the help of this globe. This material stands on a wooden base – but can be removed from it -, and can be spun around. This globe is the exact copy of the Earth, on which the water areas are painted blue, and the continents are painted different colours.

The direct aim of the material: • To learn the names of the continents The indirect aim of the material: • To learn about the sizes and the positions of the continents on the globe Age: • 4 and more Vocabulary: • The names of the continents

The three period lesson: Using the so called “three period lesson” we teach the children two new notions at a time. 1st period: The teacher makes connection between the notion and the thing. She pronounces the words with great care, while her attention is always on the given material she is using for teaching a concept. (This is… And that is…) 2nd period: The teacher makes sure the child understood the newly learnt concepts. The teacher asks questions, and now the child makes connection between the notion and the material. (Which one is …?) 3rd period: The teacher asks questions, the child answers by using the newly learnt notions, words. This way the teacher can see the active knowledge of the child. (What is this? And what is that?) 4

How to use the globe: After learning the concepts of water and land we present the colourful globe to the child offering the possibility to learn more about the Earth. By using the so called “three period lesson� we teach the child the names of the continents. We teach them the names of two continents at a time, making sure that those two continents are well distinguishable by their colours and their positions on the globe. (For example: Europe and Africa.) First the teacher pronounces the name of the certain continent clearly, and she repeats it a few times, while she turns her attention to the globe and touches the borders of the continent with her finger. In order to keep up the child’s curiosity we can spin the globe around in the appropriate direction, while repeating the names of the continents. As the second step the teacher names the continent and the child points at it on the globe. (Where is Europe? Which one is Africa?)

Spinning around the globe in the meantime - so the child could see it from different angles - we also repeat these questions a few times. As the third step the teacher makes sure the child can name the continents. (What is this? How do we call this continent?) Moving back one step is always possible whenever the teacher sees that the child is uncertain.

More possibilities of using the globe: After learning the names of all the continents and also knowing where they are on our globe, the child can compare the globe with the proportional flat puzzle which is painted according to the same colour code. The pieces of the continent puzzle can be removed one by one, and they can also be drawn round. The set contains a plastic circle, with the help of which the child can make their own global map. Bernadett Batka


Earth Day “Who said that you cannot change the world?” On the 22nd April, Earth Day, our attention is called to the importance of saving the natural values of the Earth by different events all around the world. Many people consider this date as the birth of the modern environmental movements. And indeed: the first Earth Day brought many important changes in the usa and in other countries, too. There were stricter rules made in connection with the fresh air and the water supplies, new environmental organizations were formed, and millions of people changed their lifestyles in order to live an ecologically more sensitive life. The idea was suggested in 1969, on the unesco conference in San Francisco by John McConnel (died last year), a peace-activist. The very first Earth Day was held on 21st March 1970, which marked the astronomic first day of spring. In the same year, on 22nd April an American university student, Denis Hayes, started a movement to save the Earth’s natural values, and he established the so called Earth Day Network organization. This movement became known world-wide; today 175 countries celebrate Earth Day with the coordination of the Earth Day Network. In 1989 the Earth Day Message Centre was established in California, and from then on newsletters were sent monthly into every country of the world in connection with the topic. The Washington based Worldwatch Institute gives an annual report on the condition of the Earth since 1990. In 2009 Evo Morales, the Bolivian chairman of the United Nations, pronounced 22nd April the


“International Day of Mother Earth”. Hungary was among the very first countries that joined this international initiation in 1990. The Earth Day Foundation was established and also a message centre to coordinate the first Hungarian Earth Day events. Big cities as well as tiny villages joined this movement, and today there is no town that would not take part in the activities on 22nd April. The Earth Day Foundation shows its support by publishing environmentalist books, putting quizzes together for local event – paying extra attention to schools and their teachers. In our country and all around the world people’s attention is drawn to the environmental awareness by events like planting trees, drawing competitions, quizzes, village- and river-cleaning invitations, establishing environmental organizations… the list is endless. This is why the Earth Day movement is successful: because there are local organizations and events for local people, and nowadays not only on Earth Day. Orsolya Kenessei sources:

What can kindergartens and schools do? Children are the most important part of the future of our planet. This is why it is crucial to educate them well to become environmentally aware. Beside the family the institution of education has a great role in this, since the children spend most of their days in a kindergarten or a school. To bring up environmentally aware children, the first and most important thing is a positive example in their family: let’s collect garbage selectively, compost, use revolving sources of energy, choose walking or public transport instead of travelling by car, teach your children about the topic of the environmental awareness by reading certain books, watching films or completing exercise books. The kindergarten’s and the school’s educational effect is more than valuable on this topic. The children will learn the correct attitude toward the environment if they meet this topic daily in the kindergarten or in the school; if they recycle, compost and use certain things again, or if they take care of the garden, the plants and the animals themselves. With the help of the reusable materials (plastic bottles, lids, cds, corks, boxes… etc.) we can make new toys, presents, teaching materials or decoration. If we involve the children in these projects they will experience the joy of creating new things, and they will learn how to produce less garbage. They will also understand that with the help of creativity something useful and nice can be made from bric-a-brac which seems otherwise useless..


Do it yourself! Dibbling tomatoes Things you need: a pot, soil (leaf-mould, black mould), water, different types of tomato seeds. The children can choose which type they want to plant. 1. Fill up the pots with soil. Make the soil slightly wet and scatter the seeds on it, then cover them with a little bit of soil. 2. Place the pots on a warm, sunny spot. Make sure you water the seeds properly – not too much but do not let them dry out either. 3. When the first real leaves appear on the seedlings, plant them separately into other pots. After moving them, water them a little bit and provide enough light for them. After growing bigger and stronger, plant the tomatoes in the garden. 4. By looking after the tomato plants adequately, we can have a rich harvest at the end of summer or the beginning of autumn. We can prepare these tomatoes and enjoy their taste together with the children. Ildikó Lajos


This is the Way We Plant the Seeds (Tune: Mulberry Bush) This is the way we plant the seeds, Plant the seeds, plant the seeds, This is the way we plant the seeds, Early in the springtime. Other Verses: This is the way we dig the hole... This is the way we put in the seeds... This is the way we cover the seeds... This is the way we water the seeds... This is the way we check the seeds...

My Garden This is my garden, I’ll plant it with care, Here are the seeds I’ll plant in there, The sun will shine, The rain will fall, The seeds will sprout and grow up tall.


Bird of the year: the European Bee-eater

Dear Reader,

The Hungarian Ornithological and Environmental Association put up a voting on the internet, in which the European Bee-eater won the “Bird of the year 2013” title. The aim and the mission of the “Bird of the year” programme are to show the public those kinds of birds in the saving of which the whole population or certain groups (hunters, teachers, and farmers) have a very important role. This year the Association pays extra attention to this colourful little bird that lives in river walls and migrates every winter.

Would you like to go to new places and enrich your live with new experiences? The Eszterlánc Hungarian–English Montessori Kindergarten is looking for teachers or students who would be interested in spending some time at our kindergarten. Our kindergarten is located in the beautiful and lively capital of Hungary, Budapest. Our young and enthusiastic team of teachers is always looking for an opportunity to widen the horizon of the children’s world. For you as a guest it would be a unique possibility to have a closer look at how a Montessori kindergarten works in Budapest and how the children learn a second language in a Montessori environment. You could get to know more about the Hungarian culture and share your culture with our children who are always very interested in the guests coming to us. For more information about our school have a look at If you would like to apply or have further questions please contact Eszter Strausz at Hope to see you soon!

Montessori World 2013/2 Published by Montesz Foundation Editor in chief: Orsolya Kenessei English translation: Bernadett Batka Photography: Eszter Strausz, Péter E. Várkonyi Design: János Szüdi Print: Polderprint (Hollandia) All photos and drawings are made at Eszterlánc Hungarian–English Montessori Kindergarten.


Dear Montessori schools, We are looking for a Sister-school, a Montessori kindergarten in an other country who we can work together with. The Eszterlรกnc Hungarian-English Montessori Kindergarten is located in the beautiful capital of Hungary, Budapest. The kindergarten has three classes with children of mixed ages between 3 and 6 years old. Our young and enthusiastic team of teachers is always looking for an opportunity to learn from other Montessori schools and share their experiences and knowledge. We would like to make it possible for some of our teachers to travel to the Sister-school and get new inspiration. On the other hand we would be happy to have the Sister-school teachers as our guests at our kindergarten. This long term project would enrich the lives of both schools. For more information about our school have a look at Interested in being our Sister-school or having more questions please contact Eszter Strausz at

Next Issue Montessori World 3 Sensorial educations In our next issue we cover topics of sensorial materials and sensitive periods. Healthy cake for the summer We will bake rhubarb cake with the children. What to eat for children? How to develop Health-conscious attitude in a Kindergarten.

Hope to hear form you soon!


Hungarian–English Montessori Kindergarten Bilingual education Individual development Specialized educational materials Develop independence in all areas Environmental education Nice big garden Growing plants in our own vegetable garden Colourful and cozy environment Big spacious classrooms Mixed age classrooms 3 teachers in every group 20–25 children per group Many cultural programs, excursions Afternoon clubs Large gym

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Montessori World #2  
Montessori World #2  

Cosmic education • The globe; Dibbling tomatoes; Earth Day