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Senior Projects: The Culmination of the Cosmic Curriculum
April 24, 2017
Maria Montessori named the developmental stage of children between the ages of 6-12 the Cosmic Plane of Development, or more casually, "the Age of Serenity and Rudeness." Between their first and final years of the Elementary curriculum, Montessori students "develop a construct of the universe in order to comprehend any one aspect of Creation." In other words, they focus on building an understanding of the world beyond themselves and their families, and evaluating their relationship to it. Over the course of this developmental period, they traverse sensitive periods for enormous gains in their capacity for abstract thinking, the emergence of their moral identity, tremendous growth in cognitive reasoning and an increased love and appreciation of their peers. They're charged with mastering societal behavior codes, the subtleties of interpersonal relationships and understanding the nomenclature of the universe. They emerge, at the end of this part of their journey, as pre-adolescents; on the precipice of a brand new stage of development, and also thinking about a lot more!
At Cambridge Montessori School, students in the sixth and final year of the Elementary program are beginning to close in on some of the big organizing principles for their lives. Having spent the previous five years constructing an understanding of the universe and their connection to it, the Senior Project allows students to identify a topic of importance to them, and with guidance and support from their teachers, gives students an opportunity to conduct a long term research project, beginning in the fall and culminating with an oral presentation for friends and family in the spring. This year's topics included non-violent resistance, lobsters, dyslexia, Alzheimer's Disease, the Black Death, synchronized swimming, Nikola Tesla, drones, and Legos. As a capstone of the Elementary experience, these presentations are consistently one of the school year's biggest highlights, and a unique opportunity to celebrate the sixth year students and their families, marking the closure of an important phase of their lives. Congratulations to this year's sixth years on the completion of another step in your journey! We can't wait to see what amazing things you'll do in Middle School and beyond.