The Power of Imagination: Discovering through Story

Here in our elementary classrooms we have been busy with so much great work of all kinds: engineering and building, visual art, botany, party planning, play writing, sculpting, historical studies, discovery of number patterns, categorizing the physical word, scientific exploration, and so much more. In our classrooms we intentionally design lessons and work options to foster learning based on the sensitive period of students in Elementary.  Characteristics of the second plane child include a sensitivity and gift for imagination and reasoning.  As you may well know they want to know "why" and "how" about the world and everything in it.  Their imagination and reasoning mind work in partnership, for when the child's questions are answered about the "why" or "how", their minds have the power to imagine the explanations and discoveries.  Maria Montessori explains, "Touching for the younger child is what imaging is for the older one" (To Educate the Human Potential).   The second plane child’s imagination is a powerful tool in storytelling as well.  Elementary Montessori curriculum is ripe with stories.  One way stories enrich the child’s learning and discovery is through the Great Lessons.  These are a group of impressionistic stories that are told to give the children a vision of the big picture and interconnection of the Universe, Life on Earth, Humans, Language, and Mathematics.  These stories are designed to spark the imagination and many lessons in our curriculum tie into the Great Lessons throughout the child’s time in Elementary.  The value of the Great Lessons, curriculum stories, and the stories of each of our students is held in high regard.    It is through the varied stories of our families, our ancestors, and those in our community that children develop empathy, perspective, and innovation in thought. So, take the time, when you can, to listen to all those questions, tell a story from your life or culture, do some discovering together, and have fun!