Comments About Professional Development Courses

 

The Deep Time Framework: A Foundation for Education

with Jennifer Morgan

 

I expected a great story, and I got one. I expected to be inspired, and I was.

 

An over the top powerful combination of narrative and pictures.

 

The concept that all material is related, all subjects are transdisciplinary, all single entities combine to make a new something which furthers the story of the Universe is what spoke to me most during this webcast. It is simultaneously mind-blowing and somehow calming and empowering at the same time. That we all started from within stars, little, grew over time, and each little minuscule step was impactful and important to the current story today. It is empowering to know that even if you choose to “just” teach preschoolers — or become a heart surgeon — each part is important and is part of the partnership that will bring forth the new and next part of the story of the Universe.  It is comforting to know that we all play a part and we have our “jobs” to do.

 

It was a great summary of my extraordinary experience at the Dallas Montessori Conference.  I am so excited to learn this work and to feel a part of this educational movement.

 

[From this course I took away] . . .  happiness knowing I am not alone in my desire to share this amazing story.  I can be bold and confident in stirring up the imagination and amusement of children and adults in the context of our Universe Story. 

 

As a CH teacher and as a parent of adolescents, I see myself as a nurturer of the awe and wonder a 3-6 year old exhibits as well as helping my own children find their place in the Universe. Showing 3-6 year olds about their world through their senses and being able to see their wide eyes (or lightbulb moments) of “getting it,” is so energizing to me.

 

[I took away from this course that] 1. Daily renewal of consciousness of each moment and it’s contribution to all unfolding. 2. The importance of encouraging the presentations of the Great Lessons.  3. “Heroes act in partnership with all of life” encourages me to keep inviting people to work together.

 

[I took away from this course that] our curricula needs to be transdisciplinary.  This was explained beautifully.

 

Introduction to Montessori Cosmic Education

with Michael and D’Neil Duffy

 

I’ll take into my classroom the leap of faith and the disposition of reverence. In my mind, these two ideas unite all the others we discussed. They transcend classroom practice, and are applicable in every moment of life.

 

THe most important thing I’m taking from this program is a renewed enthusiasm for Cosmic Education.  I sometimes get lost in the day to day activities and lose sight of what’s important.

 

I would recommend this to anyone who needed an introduction or refresher on cosmic education.

 

First I am inspired by the spirituality of the Cosmic Story and the infinite Reality it embraces.  I must learn ways to communicate that are sensitive to the adults (teachers as well as parents) not ready to appreciate the pluralism and diversity embodied in our collective evolutionary story.

 

Last but not least is the topic of staying inspired, inspiring other teachers and administration while sharing the wonders of learning in a culture of testing, documenting and product orientation. Even in the 3-6 program, state mandates are part of our data driven documentation and comparisons.

 

It is a big delicious pie and I am reluctant to cut into it.  Mrs. Duffy’s comment that each area has many sub areas caught my attention. That each teacher can and should respond in a personal and unique way this is very freeing. We can then follow the interest and needs of the child. Autonomy for children is influenced by autonomy given the educators.

 

I so enjoyed watching the live Q&A session. I thought it went well with very few sound glitches. Now I will be less intimidated to join the live chat in the future.

 

 I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of it and the personal nature of all of us being on and able to chat.

 

I definitely think that this professional development course, as well as Michael & D’Neil’s book, would be beneficial to all Montessorians and others as well. We touched on it a bit during my training, but it didn’t elicit the same feeling of empowerment as this (and Jennifer Morgan’s intro lesson) provided.

 

I thought the format was wonderful. The speed and thoroughness was perfect. Everyone seemed comfortable and at ease and casual which made it so much fun.  I enjoyed it, learned a ton from it, and really appreciate everyone’s efforts. Thank you.

 

I would highly recommend this programmer to others, and have recommended it to others already. 

 

My team at school are reading Michael & D’Neil’s book as a level. We had planned on discussing the first chapter on Thursday. When I found out that there was a Live Q&A at the time we had planned to discuss, I offered for my level to listen in with me. There were 5 of us in the room listening to the Live Q&A. The other teachers truly appreciated the opportunity to listen in. 
Cosmic Education has been a big discussion in our school over the past couple months (especially after David Kahn visited our school!)

 

I am looking forward to taking more courses from Deep Time Journey!

 

It speaks to the awe and wonder of a child. By starting large and working in, automatically teaches that you can’t just think about yourself. It isn’t personal, its the history of the universe. But, then it becomes persona.  By focusing on the facts and letting the story unfold by the child’s hand in the direction he wants to take it, he is in control. It is not being force-fed. It becomes natural. It promotes peace.

 

And, by not focusing on the wars and battles and disagreements, it gives the child the opportunity to be peaceful and to look at history as ‘how we go where we are today’. It speaks of kindness and decency that are just as important today as 50 years ago.

 

On why Cosmic Ed is important for the Elementary Level:

On a more basic level, we know they LOVE LOVE LOVE learning big words and big ideas.  More importantly, they are at the plane of development where they are exploring the social world more and more as they grow and develop.  They want to know how they fit into the fabric of life.  They wonder!  They’re in awe!  They are ripe for this view of the world and the universe.

 

On why the Montessori cultural curriculum – History, Biology, and Geology – are more important than Math and Language for elementary students:

I could say that the cultural studies are more important than math and language study for elementary-aged kids because these studies provide the context into which language and math fall.  I do think that often kids aren’t ready for the math (especially) that teachers are being forced to cover at a young age because it’s not rooted in the human experience and in stories.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The cultural curriculum is the whole. It provides the context into which everything else fits.  It must come first – it’s like a basic human need that needs to be met before other things can happen.

 

Cosmic education plays a critical role in creating world peace and environmental awareness.  Knowing our connections as humans in all of humanity, focusing on how we’re alike rather than different, understanding that we are chemistry, and that our collective ancestry parallels that of rocks and plants and soil and animals and coral reefs and mushrooms and each other makes us care just a little bit more!  It provides a foundation based on our relationships with every other “living” thing, every thing has evolves and changes and is.  If we are able to see ourselves as part of a living planet, in a living solar system, then we surely have a stake in protecting each other and the world, as if they were our children.

 

The Montessori pedagogy and curriculum is rooted in concrete experiences and challenges children and adolescents in the way that it draws those lines of connection in many ways.  Racheal Kessler’s Soul of Education is a great parallel to Nurturing the Spirit in that it focuses on needs of adolescents to feel connection, to be creative, to feel a part of something larger, and more.  That’s why Montessori endures.

 

Cosmic Education, by awakening a sense of awe and wonder, has a chance to motivate children to begin to understand their “cosmic task” and to see develop an ethical, moral, spiritual framework which will serve them as they continue their development.

 

From what I’ve learned about Cosmic Education, the curriculum has the potential to help children and adult better understand how they belong to and are a vital part of this cosmos.  The outcome of the curriculum is stated as “producing a new kind of human being, a new stage of evolution, where we become conscious of our unity with other humans, with Planet Earth and with the Universe.”  I believe that “Deep Peace” comes to each of us by way of the development of our consciousness. I would like to learn how we as Adults and eventually Elders can deepen the work of Cosmic Education, so that the innate “cosmic task” or Dharmic path we are each walking upon can be cultivated and manifested.  There appears to be a link between our use and consumption of resources on this planet, and the state in which many of us find ourselves living , a state of fragmentation and separation.  It seems that experience of disconnection is close to the root of many unconscious actions we are humans perpetrate upon another and on our environment.

 

Cosmic Education as a Continuum Across All Levels

with Dr. Betsy Coe and Ann Sutton

Exceeded expectations.  This was so beautifully done.  I am inspired to weave into the training course more mentions of how children are being continuously presented with the big picture. I’ve always hoped my work as a teacher would lead me more to bridging cultures.  Now that I feel some opportunity along those lines, I am supported by the deep time  and cosmic education perspective  and the interconnectedness of us all.

— Jean Rashkin

I really enjoyed your course on cosmic education across the continuum, and the live Q&A really fostered a lot of inspiring discussion.  I appreciate that you lobbied to include cosmic education in the third plane, as I believe it is the key to promoting the kind of “inward progress” of humanity that is the ultimate aim of Montessori education.  Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us!  

— Kyle Herman

The entire concept of Cosmic Education has moved me. Maria’s quote “we shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and we are connected with each other to form one whole unity” is empowering. The cyclical and spherical lessons going around and coming back around from all levels and planes of development is mind blowing. I am both inspired and a little overwhelmed in the possibilities. 

I love how the high school age lessons tie it all together and really produce bright, compassionate human. I wish it were more readily available or that more of it was in mainstream education. 

— Erin

Understanding that what I teach fits into the cosmic education continuum further solidifies my cosmic task and allows me to see purpose to the lessons I give to the children’s house.  I am empowered that what I am introducing and teaching has purpose and gives me confidence. 

— Erin

First, thank you for offering the recorded Live Q&A session — I was disappointed that I was unable to attend it live but I still felt just as much a part of it viewing it a couple of days later. 

I think what touched me most about the recorded webcast and the Live Q&A is along the same lines as what Andrea said: it reminds me to be aware and present for the fact that I only have my CH students for a small portion of their journey, that they will go on and learn and teach others. That each level is important. It reminds me, yet again, to look at the big picture. 

— Erin

 

I was awed.  I had not known that there was a teen level of Cosmic Action and Promise.  It’s thrilling in it’s wholeness and not shying away from the realities of our contemporary society.  This approach is giving me the confidence to move forward along the path I’ve been taking, and with much appreciation for others who have been leading the way.

— Laura

 

I was moved by the diagram in the adolescent phase of development that showed students’ understanding of Cosmic Education. I have never had a opportunity to view Montessori learning in that age group, and it was nice to see the culmination of all the previous years of Montessori work.

— Cynthia

 

I loved considering the growth and development of the child from infancy to adolescence.  We are a remarkable species in what we are able to do!  I particularly am drawn to the adolescence, since it’s with them that I work.  I love hearing about HMC’s program and seeing it first hand.  I’m always thinking about how our program has evolved, yet stays true to the fundamental ideas presented — and how I’d like to see it continue to change to improve.

— Barb

It sure gave me a wonderful overall perspective of where my students have been!  I found myself (again as I frequently do) feeling sad for the kids who don’t have the entire experience – at either level.  Montessori education is so much more than materials or add-ins that our district imposes to “look good”.  When the cosmic fundamentals isn’t there, so much is missing.

I also found myself thinking about kids in poverty – how their “universe” is so limited to the conditions of survival.  Just thinking on this right now, but how easy is it for them…?  Just thinking…

— Barb

loved that we shared at the end… both the sharing part and at the end part!  It’s so interested to hear what others get from the session – such different perspectives.

— Barb

I’m interested in how this material might be applied to the curriculum used by “The Guild for Spiritual Guidance”, a 2-year adult spiritual formation program. Our participants are generally between the ages of 24 – 70. Just as Betsy and Ann have defined characteristics from the first three planes of development, I’m curious what characteristics the Guild might use to describe later stages of development in the participants for our program.

These ideas are cooking within me – some new ideas are stirring, certainly.  My exposure to a cosmic framework has come from my studies in both Science and Spirituality with the help of the Public School system, the Guild for Spiritual Guidance and the New Cosmology work of Thomas Berry, Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, Brian Swimme, Ewert Cousins, Jennifer Morgan and others.  I can see how a Deep Time framework provides a greater context for younger learners via the Montessori Cosmic Education curriculum, and how “Big History” can be useful for adolescent learners.  Through my work with technology and spiritual guidance, I see a great need to connect the Deep Time Framework/Cosmic Education to better meet the needs of adult learners.

— Brian