"The Priceless Interplay Between Exploration and Going-Out"

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The Priceless Interplay Between Exploration and Going-Out

PHYLLIS POTTISH-LEWIS

Do not copy or distribute without permission of Montessori360, LLC.


“The Priceless Interplay Between Exploration and Going-Out” was presented at the AMI/USA annual conference “The Montessori Experience” Administrators’ Session in Seattle, Washington in February 2020.

Published by Montessori360, LLC with written permission from Phyllis Pottish-Lewis.

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THE PRICELESS INTERPLAY BETWEEN EXPLORATION AND GOING-OUT

Behind Going-Out To truly grasp and implement the educational plan that Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned for the elementary child, it is fundamental to comprehend the close relationship between the child’s natural need to explore all things possible and that characteristic’s relationship with the vital role of “Going-Out”. For those of us who are involved in the child’s construction within our Montessori walls, it is critical that we understand the underlying reasons for this technique.

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We must start by understanding the child’s universal natural tendencies, one of which is exploration, and see how they function to guide the development of human nature and progress. Next, we must understand the ways that we can stimulate the children’s natural desire to explore. We then realize how the fulfillment of these tendencies eventually requires going out into the world, beyond the beneficial but finite confines of the classroom. We also must recognize and accept that the potential benefits of those experiences must not be ignored because they are essential for the growth of facets of the child’s personality. By Going-Out the elementary child begins to comprehend and experience his world and eventually discovers how he can best fit into it and how he can be of service to humanity--growth he cannot do in the classroom alone. He acquires an appreciation for the essential unity and harmony of society and nature of which he is an inseparable part. At the same time, he begins to understand and appreciate the monumental accomplishments of explorers of all kinds, both intellectual and physical, whose exploits thus illuminated can serve to inspire him to similar, rewarding efforts in his own life. In short, Going-Out and exploration work in tandem to fuel the growth and development of the elementary child. It necessarily follows from this basic understanding that however difficult child-initiated Goings-Out can be to organize and execute, they are indispensable to the success of the elementary experience. It is therefore necessary to implement them. Failure to do so deprives – indeed, cheats -- the children not of a mere surplus, optional benefit of their Montessori education, but of a core element. And, as it turns out, with perseverance and determination, it is possible no matter one’s circumstances to make Going-Out a reality. A successful Going-Out program requires more than just the teacher’s understanding of the theory, dedication and enthusiasm. Rather, its implementation must be a school team effort. This means that the Head of School and all involved in this valuable process must be equally committed to and at least functionally conversant with Dr. Montessori’s ideas regarding Going-Out as it relates to exploration and human construction. When this is the case, everyone can advocate with the pertinent parties of the school about the Going-Out program with passion and confidence that is born from true understanding of the importance of this aspect of the elementary Montessori program. Although a school justifiably must be sensitive to liability and safety questions, it cannot let excessive deference to these concerns effectively straitjacket a child’s Going-Out initiatives by curbing opportunities that might seem unusual or by imposing restrictions and conditions that strip the plan of its richness for the children. “… The fulfillment of Once everything is in its place, and everyone understands the philosophy behind the process, the these tendencies child will be allowed to express his fundamental eventually requires tendencies, especially the one for exploration, through its vital corollary of Going-Out. going out…”

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The Drive to Explore The need to explore, one of the most essential universal tendencies of all peoples, is a human compulsion primarily fueling discovery and adventure in all the many forms it has taken throughout history. The children can’t help wanting to explore. It is their nature. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, an English explorer of Antarctica, stated that, Exploration is the physical expression of the intellectual passion for knowledge. That knowledge comes from the discoveries made while traversing the earth and beyond. This is not only the knowledge derived from the search and investigation undertaken, but also from the resulting knowledge of one’s abilities to overcome any exigencies confronting him in his quest. But exactly what drives humans to the great lengths that often we must take in order to explore to find what we need to satisfy this passion for knowledge, to meet our basic human needs and to discover that which is unknown to us? As Dr. Maria Montessori suggested while she studied the natural development of the universal human being, just as Apsley avowed--the answer lies simply in that it is in our human nature to explore. It is through the process of exploration that we have survived as a species. In fact, exploration is one attribute that defines human nature and separates our species from other creatures. It is that trait that allows us to construct new ways of living and create that which we need for survival and growth, while feeding and satisfying a need to discover anew and to seek the unknown, whether it is terrestrial, marine or extra-terrestrial. We humans are explorers. We have a need to find what is out there. There is such a drive in each and every one of us--the drive to wonder, push the boundaries and explore. Consider: no one need ask us how to motivate a baby to explore. Watch him. You will see he simply naturally explores everything he can get at, unless restraining forces have already dampened his natural initiative. This tendency doesn't die out, unless of course, it is suppressed or even extinguished by external forces. Prehistoric people, driven by this natural impulse to explore and discover, may have been moved by curiosity to wonder about their world as they observed the night sky, pondering the meaning of the glittering sparkles in the great beyond. Centuries later, in 1899 a 17year-old teenager stationed in a tall cherry tree in his parents’ yard was

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also curious while gazing at the night sky. Driven by his curiosity and the human’s natural need to explore the unknown, Robert Goddard wondered if a device could be made that would allow humans to travel to Mars. Who knew if this was even possible? At the time, no one knew. What we did know was that if we didn’t wonder about it and explore ways to make it happen, then it never would. Amazingly, the first fruits of Goddard’s wondering became a reality only about 75 years later when the Viking I landed on the Red Planet and performed its mission successfully on July 20, 1976.

How and Why? Natural Curiosity

As Dr. Montessori has told us, the elementary child’s mind is primed to want to explore the universe due to his newly emerging characteristics, the ability to reason and the facility to imagine that which does not exist. Is it not his thirst for more knowledge and the reason for that knowledge that provokes the child to ask that age-old question, “Why?” Why does, why is, why not? Every subject is grist for the mill of Why. It matters not what the subject is, if it piques the child’s interest and he has expressed this interest through his question of Why. The older child has an omnivorous curiosity about everything in the world and the universe and what underlies that knowledge. To find the answers to their questions, our children become explorers, ones who seek discovery stoked by curiosity and hungry minds so that they can make discoveries and comprehend the reasons underlying their discoveries. There is no doubt that we humans have a deeply curious nature; we are the asking animal and we relish discovering the answers to baffling mysteries. And who knows, what our children learn through curious investigations today, may lead us to useful applications tomorrow.

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Feeding the Intelligence Two great geniuses of our times have remarked on the human’s natural inclination to wonder and to be curious about unanswered questions and its implications for growth and the environment that fertilizes it. After working with and observing the elementary child, Dr. Montessori wrote in To Educate the Human Potential, p. 7.

…so, the older child, who seems troublesome being curious over the what, why and wherefore of everything he sees, is building up his mind by this mental activity, and must be given a wide field of culture on which to feed.1 And our second genius, Albert Einstein, cautioned, The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. But natural curiosity is not enough. It must be nurtured. If we are to follow the wisdom of these two venerable individuals, we must take care in the first instance not to stifle the children’s healthy appetites to ponder, wonder, question, and explore so that they can eventually discover that “wide field of culture” that will serve as fodder upon which their curiosity and intellect can feed. The whole art of teaching is the art of awakening the natural curiosity of the mind for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards, by finding ways to induce the child to search his domain to acquire the answers to his questions. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the adults working with children, not only to be wary of stifling natural interests by limiting the children’s fields of explorations, but also affirmatively to facilitate opportunities and possibilities that will allow for further contemplation of the mysteries that intrigue them and ultimately will satisfy their curiosity through the revelation of the answers that they seek. According to Dr. Montessori, All other factors however sink into insignificance beside the importance of feeding the hungry intelligence and opening vast fields of knowledge to eager exploration.2 _________________ 1 To Educate the Human Potential, 7 2 Ibid, 6.

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Smiley Blanton, an American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, said, A sense of curiosity is nature's original school of education. A Montessori elementary classroom is just that! It is within our environments that curiosity is not only piqued through our lesson-giving and storytelling and then allowed to blossom, but also is rewarded with further stimulation of possibilities and opportunities for creative expression, exploration and discovery whether inside of the classroom or out. Who knows what realization and innovations will spring forth as the fruits of the child’s curious, explorative intellects? Truly, there are no limits if we are providing him with the right educational environment.

Spark Through Storytelling

Dr. Montessori was aware that exploration of the world and the universe would provide the children with more than the mere acquisition of facts. Indeed, she has said, If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying.3 These words have a two-fold message for us. The first is that we must impart any concepts or ideas in just the right way. That right way, she counseled, is by telling stories appealing _________________ 3 To Educate the Human Potential, 9.

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to the imagination and reason, two prominent tendencies operative in promoting the child’s natural construction. The second message embedded in the quote is that by presenting the idea of the universe in the right way, we help to trigger the child’s inherent sense of admiration and wonder, whose stimulation is so necessary in the ultimate development of the individual. Dr. Montessori gave us the means by which we teachers can arouse the child’s interest and ignite his natural disposition to wonder and question the reality of his existence, while cultivating a sense of fascination and amazement. In her book, she advised, By offering the child the story of the universe, we give him something a thousand times more infinite and mysterious to reconstruct with his imagination, a drama no fable can reveal.4 Stephen Hawking echoed this fundamental idea of Dr. Montessori about stimulating the child’s curiosity with a special attraction when in Brief Answers to the Big Questions he stated, The human mind is an incredible thing. It can conceive of the magnificence of the heavens and the intricacies of the basic components of matter. Yet for each mind to achieve its full potential, it needs a spark, the spark of inquiry and wonder. This spark of inquiry and wonder, in the parlance of the elementary classroom, is ignited when we open up the doors of the world and the universe to the children for exploration by telling them the Five Great Stories upon which their curiosity and imaginations can wander at will. We have our scripts; we know what to say. But there is something else we must know and do if we are to open up effectively the doors for exploration by keeping alive that sense of wonder. That something is how we tell the stories. Dr. Montessori has also given us insight in this area. In all of the stories that we tell--be they the telling of the Five Great Stories or the key lessons of the traditional disciplines exposing the children to the varied, exciting components of each--we dramatically appeal to the lively imaginations of the children just as if were telling them a bed-time story beginning with “Once Upon a Time.” In this regard Dr. Montessori was, yet again, ahead of her time. Modern neurological research has proven that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention and crystalize information into their memories. Margaret Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, recognized nature’s stamp on the indelible impression of storytelling. She said, You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.

_________________ 4 Ibid, 16.

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Thus, we as a species are hard wired to receive information embedded in the stories told us. Stories make us think and feel. We Montessorians make use of this fact. Pedantically presenting these glorious lessons to the children and asking them to memorize facts contained in them will serve no purpose but to anesthetize the children and diminish the inspirational magnificence each story holds. Instead of inspiring, we simply will bore them stiff and squelch any spark of inquiry and enthusiasm for wondering about more, as well as thwart any urge to go out to discover other enthralling secrets. Every lesson that we tell is either confected in a story-like setting, such as by depicting the concept of photosynthesis as a food factory within a leaf, or is a lesson preceded by a story, such as the introduction to algebra and the innovator of that discipline, al-Kwarizmi. As Dr. Montessori observantly notes about wrapping stories around information, The child will have the greater pleasure in all subjects, and find them easier to learn, if he be led to realize how these subjects first came to be studied and who studied them. Every achievement has come by the sacrifice of someone now dead. Every map speaks eloquently of the work of explorers and pioneers, who underwent hardships and trials to find new places, rivers and lakes, and to make the world greater and richer for our dwelling.

As we embark on giving our presentations in “just the right way” through storytelling to stimulate exploration, there is yet another Montessori principle we must employ if we are going to serve our purpose of arousing interest in some beguiling notion that will tempt the children to further investigation. That principle is limitation. While we set about telling

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fascinating and intriguing stories about the world and the universe, we must take care to not tell all, lest the child be left with nothing to explore. This can prove a bit of a challenge for teachers who have an expertise in some area they cannot resist sharing or worse, wish to flaunt their knowledge to impress their children with their erudition. In this case we teachers must curb our enthusiasm and prune our language by giving only the essential points that will convey clearly the concept so that the children comprehend the fundamentals of the topic while leaving unanswered questions for them to ponder and query. If we neglect this principle, we will undermine our attempts to excite exploration. We have simply gone to the trouble to open doors that reveal only emptiness, with nothing left to wonder about, nothing left to explore, nothing left to discover. We might just as well have left the doors shut! That is why Dr. Montessori counseled us by saying, The teacher must be clearly conscious that his duty is to say little; to say only what is true, but not the whole truth in all its details. He must now also say what is “necessary and sufficient.”5 Thus, to be effective, our stories and the contents provided must be weighed and measured so not all of the answers are given but remain to be found through exploration. As we will see presently, often the most valuable avenue of exploration is outside of the classroom.

Captivate with Questions. I Wonder? We Montessori teachers have other tricks up our sleeves besides storytelling to initiate the children on the path of exploration by stoking their sense of inquiry. We can tickle their curiosity by asking them intriguing questions that appeal to their interests and captivate their imaginations, thus motivating them to search independently of us. After a lesson, we merely send them off together with a twinkle in our eyes and with an I wonder question, such as: Have you ever thought about why humans divided the week into seven days? They could have chosen another number…perhaps ten, or five. But no, the week is broken into seven days. I wonder why seven days were picked? Don’t you? Or, Perhaps after a lesson on the metric system, we might say for many, many years people could not agree on standard units of measure. Even today, we have a measuring system in the US different from other parts of the world. The metric system, which is almost universally accepted by most countries, uses the meter as the basic unit of measure. I wonder how the length of the meter was established. After all, a meter stick is not a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature like a tree or flower. Perhaps you can find the answer. _________________ 5 From Childhood to Adolescence, 24.

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Or, Following a lesson about the earth, or perhaps a lesson on geometry and angles, this question could be posed: Two thousand years ago, before there were any sophisticated measuring tools beyond the Euclidian tools of the straight edge and the compass, Eratosthenes calculated a good approximation of the distance of the circumference of the earth from where he stood on the face of the enormous earth. I wonder how he managed to make such a calculation and what tools he used so long before the technological revolution? Can you find out and then tell me the answer? In summary, Plutarch reminded us that the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled, and we can kindle this fire by posing an intriguing query. Whether it is a titillating story or captivating question offered, what is important however we motivate it, is to propel the children on varied roads of interest so they can pursue some alluring investigation. It is these independent discoveries or any new mysteries that arise during their search that will further propel the children in their quest and detection.

Society and Nature are Outside

How is this natural curiosity satisfied once stimulated? Often the investigations and the answers the children are seeking cannot be found in the classroom proper. This should be no surprise. Ultimately, nature, society and the wider reaches of existence hold the desired answers. This only makes sense. Where do you truly see the work of the wind, the work of the water, the work of the sun, the symbiotic work of insects and flowers, the work of people? Outside. Yes, they can be introduced in a limited way within the classroom, but these phenomena are fully functioning only outside, and to make these presentations about things tangible and real, the child needs to go out to see for himself how they operate in the greater environment. Children never learn anything simply by being told, seeing

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pictures or reading alone, they must find out for themselves. We don’t want our children to just learn, we want them to experience learning in a more profound way so that they truly understand! And nothing becomes real until it is experienced first-hand. Eleanor Roosevelt reflected, The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. This chance to experience life is given when the children are free to explore outside the immediate classroom.

Appreciation and Gratitude Dr. Montessori designed the Going-Out process to work in tandem with exploration so that the child would acquire two crucial revelations in addition to what he learns about the wider world. The first revelation is that through this wider exploration of nature and society outside of the classroom, the child would come to acknowledge and thus to appreciate the efforts required in the creation of all that exists in his world and all of the components upon which he depends for a satisfying lifestyle. The simultaneous arousal of gratitude in the child for the legacy of science and arts that we have inherited throughout the years from so many different people is of paramount importance. Within the classroom we prime the pump of appreciation and gratitude for those people who enhanced human existence through their talents, capacity, courage, and tenacity by telling the children the stories of their lives, their exploits and their accomplishments. We frame these individuals as the heroes and heroines of society who have contributed significantly to the advancement of humankind and ultimately to ourselves. On a larger plane we hope concurrently to cultivate a reverent consciousness in the children of the dignity and worth of humanity in our Montessori classes by introducing the children to these individuals to whom we are indebted--whether anonymous or known--and the idea that we can repay those people not only with our admiration, respect and gratitude for their many efforts, sacrifices and successes, but also by following their example to emulate their achievements in some capacity. Because we want to enthuse the children with the world of exploration (both intellectual and physical), and the children are in the process of exploring what is possible, we need to highlight those people who, often at some considerable risk to their own welfare, explored all domains of their existence and their resultant discoveries. We must tell the children about the fearless explorers who first took to the seemingly endless oceans seeking new lands; about the ones who expanded exploration across continents settling new frontiers and overcoming apparent

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insurmountable obstacles; and finally, to the intrepid explorers who took to the skies and beyond. We flew in space; we walked in space. With this latest triumph a new age of exploration opened offering possibilities for further investigations and discoveries. Exploration will take us to the planets and the stars or into the deepest reaches of the ocean. We don’t know what secrets lie ahead, but this is the very reason we must go. Maybe, following their curiosity and explorative natures, it will be one of our children who takes us there. If we put them in touch with the universe and its vastness, they always have something more to discover. They begin to realize that what they just heard, and saw is only the beginning. This realization cannot grow if the children are confined to the class.

Finding One’s Place in the World When children recognize the value to humanity of the gifts left by others, through human communication, collaboration, creativity, and exploration a seed of awareness is planted in their subconscious minds that one day they, too, could offer just such a weighty and beneficial contribution. We hope and our goal is that hearing these stories about our heroes and heroines will trigger a notion in the child’s mind that he, in his turn, can become part of the contributing legacy by recognizing and bestowing his own individual contribution, once he discovers through his many opportunities exactly what that gift is. To discover his personal interests and talents and to find his place in the world is one of the chief goals that Dr. Montessori envisioned for the older child with Cosmic Education, the name she gave her educational approach for the older child. But to accomplish this, first the child needs to discover all of the facets that comprise society in order to make from an informed choice of opportunities, possibilities and occupations, ones that suit his abilities, interests and proclivities. This discovery can only be affected when the child sees and experiences for himself the myriad workings of society and nature in all its many forms outside of the classroom. Thus, Dr. Montessori said, In the second period the child needs wider boundaries for his social experiences. Development cannot result by leaving him in his former environment.6 The child needs, then, to establish social relationships in a larger society. The closed school, as it is conceived today, can no longer be sufficient for him.7 Mario Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s son and intimate collaborator, concurred when he remarked about going beyond the classroom, You must try to give the child what he now longs for: the understanding of the world, how it functions and how it affects the life and the behavior of humanity.8 _________________ 6,7 From Childhood to Adolescence, 9. 8 Ibid, 10.

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This essential objective elucidates why we must ensure that the children must be free to explore and discover outside that which can only be found outside. In a sense, the child begins to discover himself by going out into society.

The Cosmic Task of Humans The second additional revelation arising from Going-Out that Dr. Montessori wanted the children to recognize and understand--one that would eventually resound in the minds of the children from their firsthand exploration of nature and its functioning--is that there is a profound web of interrelationships and interconnectedness amongst all life on the planet. Dr. Montessori was so aware of these relationships that she spoke of them as Cosmic Tasks as though each element in nature, by merely existing, performed a task maintaining the balance in nature that has evolved through the ages. She suggested that it is as though everything has a double purpose in existing. One purpose is immediate, related with the survival and wellbeing of that particular organism. The second purpose, which is remote and unknown to the species except humans who discover it, is related to the creation and the maintenance of the delicate and fragile balance of nature and all living things. An impact made from first-hand observations is more impressive and profound than reading about it in a book. Thus, it is only by venturing into the natural world and experiencing it for himself through his own acute observations that the child truly can comprehend this close association that all living things have with and upon each other. We want this first-hand opportunity for our children, so they begin to recognize the significance of what they see and realize the necessity for preserving this delicate and fragile balance and their role in the entire process. When I read Meredith May’s memoir entitled The Honey Bus, I was struck by how important this awareness of the interrelationships and interconnectedness of all life is for people to grasp, especially for our children because they are in a better position to do something to protect and enhance these relationships once they understand that the wellbeing and health of our earth could someday be in their hands. The passage that especially moved me arose when a colony of bees was afflicted with a disease called “foul brood” where the brood cells or bee larvae are affected by a pernicious bacterium that can destroy the entire colony and is easily transmitted from one colony to the next. May’s grandfather, the beekeeper, explained to her what a great tragedy this was, not just for the bees, but also for many other living creatures including humans. The health of the honeybee has a great and enduring impact on more living things than just itself. May recounted,

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Grandpa said we needed bees to pollinate alfalfa and other grasses so cows and horses could eat. Mother Nature knit a careful plan in place, and if you pulled one thread of it loose, the whole thing could unravel. These insects that made most people run in fear were the invisible glue of the earth that held us all together. Grandpa had just revealed a hidden staircase in my mind, showing me that there are so many things to learn, beyond what I could see with my own eyes. Before, when I looked inside a hive, all I saw were bees going about their chores, never imagining that their labors had anything to do with me. It was astounding to realize that every creature, no matter how small, helped keep everyone else alive in a hidden organization. If something as insignificant as a bee was silently taking care of us, what about an ant, or a worm or a minnow? What else didn’t I know about the unseen contributions that nature was making all around me? It made me think that the universe had a plan for me, and although I couldn’t always see it or feel it, I had to trust that it was there. It just might be that my life wasn’t random, or unlucky, after all. This revelation that came to May through her work with her grandfather and the bees is the very revelation to which we strive to expose our children by allowing them to explore outside. When they become aware of this close association of all living organisms, they will realize that any decision made that has an impact on one organism, will naturally have an impact on others, whether for the good or for the bad. This understanding goes far beyond environmental activism. It is vital to the future of life, including humans. Today, its centrality in Montessori elementary education is more vital than ever. In modern times the more humans have the power to act upon the earth or their environment, both favorably and unfavorably, the more essential it becomes that we all have a clear understanding of our responsibility in maintaining that delicate balance. Our children are of an age where moral development is under construction, making them receptive to their responsibilities toward the earth and its inhabitants. Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring, To the natural forces that act upon wild populations of plants and animals, the influence of humans have been added in many places and with increasing vigor in recent centuries and decades. The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. As we think of the immense significance of these ideas, as did Montessori, we wonder if maybe we human beings too are a part of this process ostensibly working to fulfill our own personal needs, but by doing so, also are affecting the cosmos. Because we possess the ability to see ourselves as humanity, outside of ourselves individually, perhaps we are in a better position than the animals to visualize this reality and discover our part in the cosmic

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plan, and so eventually, fulfill it with conscious collaboration. Our hope and salvation lie with the children when they truly understand these concepts and when they recognize that they, too, have a cosmic task to contribute for the benefit of all by protecting and maintaining the health of the globe. This understanding springs from their first-hand discoveries when exploring nature--that is, from Going-Out. Perhaps it will be they who solve the problems facing the bees and ultimately all of us.

Satisfying the Growing Child

Dr. Montessori recognized that the younger child was content to remain within the classroom as he made his human construction. But the older child expressed a very different interest. He is not satisfied to remain inside, as is the younger child. No, he has a visceral need to explore. That is why Dr. Montessori said in her own unique way, The foot is noble. To walk is noble. Thanks to the feet, the child who already walks can expect of the outdoors certain answers to his secret questions.9

_________________ 9 From Childhood to Adolescence, 25.

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Inherent within an elementary Montessori education--an educational method differentiated from a teacher-centric, traditional education conducted by syllabus and curricula alone-exploration is a significant component. One of the vehicles by which this component is realized is by Going-Out. This exploratory device and the means by which it can be achieved originated with Dr. Montessori. She advocated strongly for it due to the multitude of benefits derived for the elementary child’s growth, development and understanding. She reminded us, To go out of a classroom to enter the outside world, which includes everything, is obviously to open an immense door to instruction.10 The question for us to understand plainly is: What exactly does this instruction entail and how essential is it for the child’s development? We already know of some of the essential benefits Going-Out offers, but actually, the children derive many others from this process, which is why it is so significant. Going-out also offers the possibility for the development of a desirable and essential human quality -character- without which human construction is impaired and stunted. Consequently, it is critical to realize that without the possibility of Going-Out the elementary class becomes just a class of children working with Montessori material, learning something certainly one hopes, but not in relation to the life in society or for the further and concurrent development of desirable personal characteristics that will serve the child in the future long after he’s left the classroom behind. However, let us be clear: Going-Out is not something that springs up because the sun is shining or because the children are bored if it is to serve as a “door to instruction.” It has a very important pedigree. Although Going-Out is an approach that is guided by the teacher, it is planned, prepared and controlled by the children so they can follow their personal interests and make their human construction. It is not just a spontaneous jaunt but one that has an ultimate goal and meaningful purpose in relation to the development of the children through themselves creating, executing and experiencing the event. Nor is Goingout a field trip, involving the whole class on some pursuit of knowledge arranged by the teacher. A Going Out has its limits, its rules and regulations and its preparation all done by children according to their interests and obligations related to their work in the class. It is not an occurrence assigned by the teacher. Often, one of the motivating influences that drives the children out is the fruits of their labors in the classroom and the projects they collectively envision and design there. Children working together is another striking, natural characteristic at this age. When the children are free to work together, they develop the social skills they need for their eventual life in society. To paraphrase Margaret Stephenson, When children are allowed to work together, which is their natural inclination, they have the chance to practice at being members of society. _________________ 10 From Childhood to Adolescence, 33.

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This is when they learn to collaborate, communicate, articulate their ideas, defend their opinion, compromise, and ultimately to make a collective decision. And often that work results in turn is what Dr. Montessori calls Great Work. She calls it Great Work since it is the combined intellectual exploration of all members of the working group, on some child-inspired endeavor, each person contributing according to his talents and abilities, resulting in one communal product. Often the execution of this Great Work and the implementation of these grand ideas require materials for their implementation. Who knows better what is needed than the architects of the project, namely the children themselves? Therefore, it is incumbent on them to make a list of required materials needed and then make a plan for going out to acquire these materials. This is their work! This is their responsibility! They are fully capable of handling these initial planning stages independently if given the opportunity to do so. They initiate and schedule the trip, they find transportation, they fill out pertinent documents, they compile the monies needed; in other words, they take responsibility for every detail of the planned outing. And if they make a mistake, so be it. It is just as Goethe expounded, by seeking and blundering we learn. This sound advice applies to all of us, because if we are attentive, we can learn from our mistakes and take pains to avoid them in the future. Although tempted to jump in and rescue the children when a mistake in their planning appears inevitable, the wise Montessori teacher will refrain from interfering and let the plans and mistakes take their course, no matter how circuitous and dubious the consequences may be, as long as they are not grave. Alfie Kohn, the author of The Schools Our Children Deserve, colorfully put it this way in regard to adult interference: Good teachers have teeth marks on their tongue. Neither the steps for planning the Goings-Out nor waylaying potential mistakes on their ill-fated path belong to the teacher. Her responsibility in regard to the children’s project after having inspired them to action, is to grant them independent control of the project and ensure and provide a way and means by which the children can manage to go out to arrange what they need to implement their ideas. By handing over responsibility for all aspects to the children to affect their own plans independently and through the GoingOut process, the teacher is providing an invaluable opportunity for the children to further develop and refine both physical and intellectual independence and responsibility alike.

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Ivan Illich, author of Deschooling Society whose like-minded theories resonate with Dr. Montessori’s, commented, Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being "with it.” When a Montessori class is guided by Dr. Montessori’s principles without compromise and the children have the opportunity to go out as it is meant to be, it is, indeed, a meaningful setting in which the children can learn best by thinking and acting unhampered. This is an environment in which the children feel trusted by their teacher to take charge of their own activities, no matter what that entails. When this is the case, they feel safe enough that they can take risks, ask questions, go out, and make mistakes as they undertake to actualize their creative intellectual enterprises. Of course, these ground rules do not mean that the children are unable to seek advice and guidance from the teacher, but the teacher’s response must be just, and no more than that: advice and guidance. It will not do for the teacher to take over execution of the project or any part of it.

The Potential of Self-Discovery

An effective elementary class is rich with opportunities to which the child is exposed. Through these opportunities while working with others from all reaches of the curricula including Going-Out, another intangible but essential benefit emerges. Inspired by the Great Work the child will discover much about himself as he applies himself to the actualizing of these cooperative, group-initiated innovations and adventures. Working

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collectively on a Great Work project with others is an explorative activity for the child as he soon discovers for himself what appeals, what holds no interest, what is beyond reach, what suits him best, what he is capable of, how he can contribute, and with each such endeavor comes new revelations. This awareness as it relates directly to him, initiates the self-assessment process. He begins to know himself and recognize his natural talents. He can identify both his virtues and any shortcomings that may need attention letting these realizations guide him in his future choices. When he is involved in planning a Going-Out, he will know more and more how he can best contribute, because he knows better what he has to offer. In a paper and pencil environment, in which the children are told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, without the possibility of Going-Out, these invaluable opportunities for self-exploration, development and realization are lacking. Therefore, the children’s discovery of their own merits and shortcomings is impeded. But more detrimental to constructive self-assessment is when the children measure and weigh themselves by external evaluations set by limiting external forces such as artificial deadlines, quantitative measures or a grading system. To discover what one can and cannot do, no matter the domain, is germane to all manner of endeavors in life, not just to the children while they are in our schools. While we have them in the elementary class, we want them to make such discoveries about themselves while they are in our hands and to outfit them to make further discoveries for the rest of their lives. As Colin Wilson, a prolific English writer, philosopher and novelist, discovered in his chosen pursuit of the written word, The exploration of oneself is usually also an exploration of the world at large, of other writers, a process of comparison with oneself with others, discoveries of kinships, gradual illumination of one's own potentialities.

Invaluable Learning Opportunities As we delve into the aforementioned essential human qualities that emerge gradually but assuredly as the children function in their Montessori environments, we can acknowledge and recognize that Dr. Montessori’s ideas for human development were spot on. The children’s self-confidence is enhanced because by exploring on their own they realize there is so much they can do for themselves and they are buoyed by their progressive successes (including, not incidentally, surviving and fixing their mistakes). Both physical and intellectual

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independence is fostered because when children are solely in charge of their enterprises and expeditions and they effectively complete them, they realize they generally can get along fine on their own. The skill of careful observation is refined as well, when the children look more carefully at the wider world as they search nature for certain characteristics and phenomena or as they observe astutely the customs and behavioral patterns of society. Marcel Proust commented about developing the skill of careful observation, The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. The ability to observe acutely one’s surroundings or the development of “new eyes” is an invaluable skill to possess in all arenas of life that needs to be fostered early, systematically and through a deliberate process. Going-Out provides just such a process. By allowing them to function by themselves, both inside and outside of the classroom, nay, by expecting them to, we enable children to flex their creative muscles and minds thereby also stimulating their imaginations. In turn, it is from the fruits of their imaginations and their intellects that they envision projects, intriguing follow-up activities to lessons and marvelous undertakings that sometimes we teachers cannot anticipate or even for that matter, fathom. Additionally, having the possibility to go out and work independently cultivates internal motivation. Without adults interfering with the success or process of an activity, children will naturally tend to challenge themselves to try new, innovative ideas, and then when they do manage to overcome obstacles successfully another piece of who they are and what they are capable of is unveiled. Additionally, having to find solutions to difficulties that have occurred in the execution of their imaginative ideas or in the Going-Out process, naturally leads to problem solving. Children will have to figure out for themselves how to correct any mishap that has occurred during the process or overcome any obstacle to their projects. There is no doubt that the ability to solve problems effectively is an invaluable skill to possess in life, an ability that is developed gradually but inexorably through the countless opportunities offered in a Montessori class. The unlimited possibilities created by cooperative activities such as Going-Out in a Montessori classroom also provide ample opportunities for training sorely needed social and communication skills. Children who engage in self-directed outings with peers must interact with each other and in so doing learn a vast array of negotiation skills like fairness, taking turns, reciprocal cooperation, understanding larger social rules, considering and expecting other points of views, patience, perseverance, and the art of compromise.

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The Requirement of Responsibility

Going-Out is not possible without responsibility, which is a vital characteristic of a productive human. Responsibility is not only further developed but also required in the first instance for effecting a successful Going-Out. Led and designed by the children, Goings-Out require a significant level of responsibility as the children are ultimately accountable for the process and success of the undertaking. Responsibility is a requirement the children must possess and exhibit before they may leave the classroom independently. A threshold question to pose therefore is how does a Montessori teacher prepare for and assess the child’s ability to make sound decisions and his level of responsibility? There are innumerable benchmarks of readiness to leave the classroom safely and successfully that teachers can note and observe before granting permission to go out. Interestingly, they fall within the domain of practical life, of which Going-Out is an integral part at the elementary level, one that operates outside of the classroom. Just as in the classroom, when the children go out, they must care for the environment and plants and animals. They must care for each other as they extend the grace and courtesy lessons offered within the classroom to gracious and courteous treatment of others in a wider society. They should look nice and present themselves personally and professionally in a suitable manner. And they must abide by the guiding laws of the society. The children must be able to meet these conditions of eligibility before leaving the classroom on a Going-Out expedition. The activities within the classroom that most prepare children for and indicate when children are ready to venture beyond the walls are those directly related to their behavior. I will never forget Margaret Stephenson’s words in that regard. She cautioned,

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If they (the children) are not controlled, both physically and behaviorally, they are not prepared for Going-Out. Do not let them lie around on the floor. That doesn't mean they can't sit on the floor, but don't let them roll around on the floor. It will catch like measles. Don't let them sit all over the chairs, their feet should be on the floor, their backs against the chair. Unless you give the children an idea of dignity of themselves, they will never learn to go outside. This is self-control. To put one's body under the control of one’s mind and will. To pull one's self in and to be a whole and integral person.11 There is nothing ambiguous about Miss Stephenson’s message. Of further importance, when the children leave our classes to go out into society, they become ambassadors of the Montessori approach and their behavior will reflect on the very thing that we hold so dear, while also telegraphing to others the benefits of this exceptional method of education. For us teachers who have taken children on Going-Out excursions, it is not uncommon for people to approach us and ask, “Where did these children come from?” Not because they were so ill behaved, but quite the converse: because they were behaving like civilized people in a civilized society. How our breasts swell with pride when we answer, “We are from the neighboring Montessori school.” Lamentably, too often what the public sees in children is not civilized behavior. This kind of admirable behavior of the children being lauded in public can be attributed to a teacher who has carefully laid the foundation for successfully functioning in different venues outside of the classroom. She has carefully and thoroughly made the children aware of all of the governing rules and the reasons for the rules in the varied places that they visit. By doing this, she clarifies the expectations by which the children must abide when outside. When visiting the library, for example, one must respect the request for silence. When riding on public transportation, we must be vigilant of the needs and comfort of other passengers. When shopping at a grocery market, we refrain from handling every delectable piece of produce that presents itself. When walking to a destination, we follow the laws of the road and always stay safely on the path. As you know, children have a reasoning mind and when the reasons for a request are sound and clearly explained, you will find that the children will accept them because they are logical and make sense; these rules are more than just naked proscriptions.

Practical Aspects of Going-Out Preparing an environment has always been one of the major tasks of a Montessori teacher. In the case of the elementary, since the children need to get outside, the teacher has the added task of preparing a double environment, inside the classroom proper and in the outside world. _________________ 11 Quoted from a lecture on Freedom and Responsibility on the AMI elementary course in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1991.

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In the 1947 training course that Dr. Montessori gave in Adyar, India, she said, “Before (during the first plane of development) it was the construction of the hand that was important. Now (during the second plane), it is the activity of the feet which is important. It is the feet with which they must go out, and we must facilitate this possibility. They must learn, however, how to go out practically. We must organize the instruction for the children of this age, not with a beautiful environment as in the first period, but with the organization and possibility to go out to study in nature.”12 To facilitate this explorative possibility is the responsibility of the teacher. It requires many steps, the first of which is that the teacher, herself, must be committed to Dr. Montessori’s theories, be steadfast in her belief that Going-Out is an indispensable entirely feasible factor in implementing authentically the Montessori approach and, if needed, advocate for it vociferously.

- Get the Administration on Board Initially, the teacher must educate the relevant members of the school’s administration on the theory and practical aspects of the importance of providing the means for Going-Out for the children. This will entail understanding, acceptance and support from people who may not have had the advantage of being exposed to Dr. Montessori’s ideas and therefore, may not understand what may seem at first glance like a far-fetched and even disquieting idea. This step of collective acceptance from the administration is critical in that there are possible legal and logistical issues to address and satisfy, not to mention, potential parent questions. To meet the security requirements for this process may be as simple as contacting the school’s insurance company to see what they require, filling out background forms and a permission slip from each of the parents. Or it may entail more steps that need tackling. In any case, what is important is that all of the steps are taken to both ensure the safety of the school and the children, but equally important is to ensure that the children have an avenue by which they can leave the class to explore on the right terms so that the Going Out can serve its vital purpose rather than descend into a glorified field trip.

_________________ 12 Quoted by Margaret Stephenson in a lecture on Freedom and Responsibility on the AMI elementary course in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1991.

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- Educate the Parents Once the administrative steps are clarified and satisfied, the next step is to have the teacher meet with the parents to share Dr. Montessori’s ideas regarding exploration and Going-Out, how the two ideas are inextricably intertwined and what the benefits are. The parents must understand unquestionably that Going-Out is an essential and integral part of the Montessori elementary education and is a natural part of any authentic Montessori elementary program. Of course, the selling point of the GoingOut program for the parents is not just that it is “true” Montessori, but all of the many pronounced, invaluable benefits the children derive by being offered this invaluable opportunity. It is also important to set the parents’ minds at ease by informing them of the precautions that the school and the teacher have taken and will take beforehand to ensure the children’s safety and a successful endeavor. This also may be a good time to educate the parents as to what the exact responsibilities are of an accompanying driver or chaperone should they be willing and qualified to undertake those tasks, something that should be done again with care in advance of each Going-Out. They must understand that their primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the children, not to direct them in any way and certainly not to bail them out of any difficulties, but simply to guarantee the children’s safety. The parents can expect that the children behave respectfully and considerately when the children are in their charge. Just as the children are ambassadors to the public at large when they go out and must comport themselves with decorum, their self-management and competence during these GoingsOut also leaves an impression on the parent-drivers and chaperones, who more often than not transmit them to the Montessori school’s community, often times in the parking lot. As we all know, there is no greater endorsement of a program or of a school than that of another parent.

- Identify Resources Another necessary preliminary step for the teacher is to discover and identify what resources are available to her children in the immediate and surrounding areas. Where are the pet stores, grocery markets, hardware stores, craft stores, garden supply facilities, libraries? What kinds of museums and biological gardens are available to visit? The teacher should find out as many possible locations to visit that might serve the interests and pursuits of the children. Essentially, the teacher must prepare herself by orienting herself to future educational sites to which she can guide the children once they display interest in some field or another.

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- Prepare the Physical Environment Once these preliminary steps have been taken, the teacher can set herself the task of preparing the physical environment with the materials that the children will need and can access when planning their outings. To this end there should be an area or shelf in the classroom in which the following items can be housed: • • •

current public transportation schedules and prices maps of the possible areas of exploration a small 3” by 5” cataloguing file system that contains potential sites to visit in all domains of the curricula with contact information and details of the site • a calendar to record important dates related to the trip • reminder forms of where, when and who will be going out that will be used for the teacher, participants and the parents involved • forms to provide the administration of the pertinent information related to the trip so that the office will know the reason for the trip, where the children are going, who is going, and when they expect to depart and return • any other forms the school requires in regard to the Going-Out process • a list of potential parent drivers or chaperones who have been vetted and approved by the school Moreover, the children should have access to a telephone so that they can contact independently the selected entities to make the appropriate arrangements.

- Inform the Children Once all of the preliminary steps have been accomplished, it is time to inform the children of the possibility of going out into the world to seek more information about interesting topics or to secure materials they may need for the execution of their projects or for the completion of their class responsibilities. This discussion should take place early in the year so that the children are alerted to this vital practice and its possibility becomes fixed at the forefront of their minds. However, it simultaneously must be made absolutely clear to the children that this Going-Out excursion is a privilege that must be earned

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through responsible behavior in the classroom as well as outside. Underscore the idea that only children who exhibit responsibility within the walls of the classroom may go out, since Going-Out requires accountability and the fulfillment of certain expectations. Also, let them know that before they are granted the freedom to go out, their parents must also believe that their child can handle this responsibility and give their permission. While we do not want to discourage the children from aspiring to this program, we must both impress upon them the gravity of the undertaking while extolling its virtues. To impress upon the children the prerequisites for Going-Out, the questioning technique is very effective because it encourages the children to think about and analyze actions and appropriate behaviors for themselves within and outside of the classroom. For example, initial questions might be, if not suggested first by the children, “Will I be able to assess your readiness to go out when you, without prompting from me, take care of your assigned class chore?” Or “Will I be able to tell if you are ready by how productive you work throughout the day with your friends?” Or “When you consider the needs of others will that tell me that you will consider the needs of people you meet outside?” Based on these questions modeled by the teacher, soon the children will be offering their own indications of what will be necessary to go out.

Effectively, through this process the children themselves are establishing reasonable ground rules of behavior, a better technique than the teacher’s imposing the rules on them. Moreover, when the questions and answers are elicited from the children, the expectations of behavior become ingrained and internalized through the children’s own analytical and intellectual process far better than if they are declared by the teacher. When this is the case, they more readily accept and understand the reasons for the guidelines. By making all these aspects clear to the children in this manner the teacher is not only setting up a foundation of expectations, but she is helping to create a standard by which the children can measure themselves in regard to each characteristic required for functioning in a

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civilized society. She is also providing the reasons for denying a child’s request to go out when necessary, thus making the decision neither arbitrary nor subjective, but one that can be measured by concrete examples already illuminated in and by the group. As a means of additional preparation, the class may need a dress rehearsal by walking to the various nearby sites with the teacher, learning the paths and directions or riding any forms of public transportation available to them. They will become familiar with how to purchase fares, identify the terminals, where and when to walk, and how independently to manage themselves in general. This dress rehearsal can also be a time when behavioral expectations at the different sites can be identified, reified clearly and reinforced. After all of the preliminary steps have been taken, the children’s appetites are whetted for this challenge, and the teacher has a group of sufficiently prepared children who have all worked together and thus have a bona fide reason for going out, it is time to take the next step. The teacher needs to guide, not simply march the involved children through a process in which they consider all of the pertinent aspects that a Going-Out entails. This is merely guidance, not directives, to make the children cognizant of all the elements that must be covered if they are to be successful. Again, this is best done through the questioning format and then re-emphasized by humor or a touch of the absurd since this is the age when the children respond well to this approach. The ensuing discussion should cover such topics as dates and times that do not conflict with school activities: • how transportation will be managed to legally transport children • any expenses incurred such as, cost of materials being purchased, entry fees, transportation fees, etc. • who will handle the money and collect the receipts? • who pays the chaperone’s fare and entry fee? • what is the appropriate dress for the occasion? • will rain gear be necessary • how will lunch be handled. It is of special import to direct the children’s attention to the required paperwork that must be completed before the trip and establish the due dates for its submission to the requisite entities.

- Role-Play and Review the Process When setting up these outings through role-playing make the children aware of the appropriate manner to use when engaged in social interactions with people such as conversations with parents who might serve as chaperones or drivers. First the teacher can model in a dramatic and humorous way all the things not to do, and then with the children analyze which behaviors were inappropriate and why. Next, ask the children to model the conversation in a civilized manner, correcting the missteps elucidated by the teacher’s performance. This approach serves to reinforce what not to do, while contrasting what to do. Especially make the children aware of how to converse with people at the various sites who are responsible for scheduling school visits and who may be averse to talking to children

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rather than adults simply because they tend to underestimate the child’s abilities. As well, advise the children that while being polite and courteous, they also must be confident and professional, ready to insist that they are fully prepared to handle the task. Let the children know that if need be, the teacher will be there, not to set the trip up, but to let the official know that the children are fully capable, prepared and authorized to arrange the trip. On the day before the trip, the teacher and the group should gather together to review all of the necessary particulars. Always review the number of adults chaperoning the group, the amount of cash that has been collected for the expenses and the required paperwork has been submitted. This gentle reminder is merely to serve as a double-check of the plan. While the children have the responsibility for arranging the details of the trip, ultimately the teacher has the responsibility for the safety and security of the children. Thus, during the day of the actual Going-Out, while the teacher doesn’t concern herself with the childdelegated particulars since they will have been taken care of, she must always check to see that the children and the chaperones have identification, that there is emergency contact information for each child and that there is a small, portable first-aid kit in the event of a bump or a scratch - precautions to take in the event of any unexpected and untoward exigencies.

- After the Going-Out

With solid preparations and forethought, the Going-Out adventure should be accomplished without a hitch. Once the trip has been completed, the teacher if she did not accompany the group, needs feedback from both the children and the chaperones on the successes and any challenges or difficulties that may have arisen, so that she is well informed and can make any indicated adjustments for future events. In the unlikely event that a child did not meet the well-advertised expectations and has pushed the acceptable limits and boundaries, that child needs to go on notice. He must be told that if he is granted this freedom one

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more time and his behavior has not improved, the privilege of Going-Out will be suspended. And then, before he is granted permission to go out again, he must earn that privilege through sterling behavior in the class that betokens acceptable behavior on a new Going-Out. It is extremely important that the teacher holds the line in these circumstances, because if she does not, effectively she has given that child tacit approval to act however he wishes in spite of the very clear behavioral guidelines set by the group for the process. Other practical life obligations arise after a Going-Out expedition. These fall into the realm of grace and courtesy. When someone in the course of the trip has provided the children a service, such as chaperones or perhaps the people at the various sites involved in setting up the tour, this service should be recognized in society’s customary way by sending a thank you note to those relevant parties. The writing of such notes is also a link between the world of language and practical life activities, since the notes should be written in the best hand, the contents be heartfelt and personal, the grammar exemplary, the words spelled correctly, and the notes beautifully decorated. An added benefit to what the children learn from this endeavor is that when parents see this kind of gesture from the children, they once again are reminded of the reasons why they have chosen a Montessori education for their child.

The Ultimate Going-Out Benefit Before I conclude my presentation, let me return to one more, priceless benefit of Going-Out besides those described so far. In fact, it is the ultimate benefit of GoingOut. During the varied Goings-Out, the children discover many things that through their first-hand observations and experiences give true meaning to their understanding of what it means to be a valuable member of society. Yes, they derive the knowledge that they were seeking for their work within the classroom, but by being out in society they also experience things they might otherwise not have seen, all experiences from which they develop important human qualities, ones that will become useful in their future lives. One such domain of experience stems from this being a compassionate stage for our children; they have tender hearts. Thus, when they see some creature struggling or some person needing assistance, they readily recognize the situation and are moved to help however they can. Indeed, this second plane of development is a time when the children instinctively offer help to the old, the handicapped, the poor and others laboring under similar burdens. Perhaps an elderly person needs help crossing the street. Or a tiny child has fallen on the playground and needs comforting. Or a fundraiser needs organizing to buy sleeping bags for the people of war-torn Sarajevo. When faced with these kinds of scenarios, our children instinctually are eager to help out if they can. Because of their kindhearted natures it is not uncommon for the elementary-aged children to initiate

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spontaneously visits to senior citizens’ homes to read to, play games with, talk to, and even sing to people who are lacking companionship and these pleasures at this time in their lives. While the children’s gestures may seem small to the children themselves and take very little effort, the benefits of their actions for the recipients of their benevolent acts are immense. Not only are the recipients’ lives enriched, but also are the children’s when they recognize that through their actions, they have provided a kindness and valued service that enhanced someone’s life. I have witnessed all of these acts of service during my tenure working with children and I have seen a sense of worthiness bloom in the faces of these children who were generous with their time, affection and efforts.

Preparing Children for Real Life The axiom that we frequently hear describing Dr. Montessori’s method is that it is Preparation for Life. A key component of this preparation is Going-Out. The children’s experiences of learning about themselves by preparing to visit the world outside the classroom and learning about the world itself when they go there, and serving society and recognizing their cosmic tasks, become a foundation for their conduct. Through the purposeful process of Going-Out, the children become prepared for life as valuable and contented members of society. They are positioned to become the architects of harmony, unity and accord in their lives, as well as agents of change. This is the destiny that Dr. Montessori foresaw for the child. I would like to end with the illuminating and sage advice of President Barack Obama, Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don’t settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work to change the world. This is the message we want to safeguard and nurture in our children as we authentically provide for them the kind of education that Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned for the child.

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Bibliography Montessori, Maria. To Educate the Human Potential. Thiruvanmiyur, Madras, India: Kalakshetra Publications, 1948, p. 7. Montessori, Maria. To Educate the Human Potential. Thiruvanmiyur, Madras, India: Kalakshetra Publications, 1948, p. 6 Montessori, Maria. To Educate the Human Potential. Thiruvanmiyur, Madras, India: Kalakshetra Publications, 1948, p. 9. Montessori, Maria. To Educate the Human Potential. Thiruvanmiyur, Madras, India: Kalakshetra Publications, 1948, p16. Hawking, Stephen. Brief Answers to the Big Questions. London, Hodder & Stoughton and New York, Bantam Books, 2018. Montessori, Maria. From Childhood to Adolescence. New York, Schocken Books, 1973, p. 24. Montessori, Maria. From Childhood to Adolescence. New York, Schocken Books, 1973, p. 9. Montessori, Maria. From Childhood to Adolescence. New York, Schocken Books, 1973, p. 10. Montessori, Mario. The Human Tendencies and Montessori Education. Association Montessori Internationale, 1956, p. 2. Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company,1962. Montessori, Maria. From Childhood to Adolescence. New York, Schocken Books, 1973, p. 25. Montessori, Maria. From Childhood to Adolescence. New York, Schocken Books, 1973, p. 33. Kohn, Alfie. The Schools Our Children Deserve. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Illich, Ivan. Deschooling Society. New York, Harper & Row. 1971. Stephenson, Margaret. Director of Training, Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, Class Lecture on Going-Out, February 1991. Stephenson, Margaret. Director of Training, Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, Class Lecture on Going-Out, February 1991.

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