Wheaton Montessori News

The Second Great Lesson: Coming of Life

Categories: Elementary Program / The Great Lessons / The Montessori Difference
New Elementary Students and the Second Great Lesson

Early Elementary students are presented in the first months a series of “Great Lessons,” that introduce broad, sweeping concepts about our universe. These broad and universal lessons create a spark of curiosity in your child, letting them contemplate vast ideas that we will later study through smaller concepts. Unlike our Primary classrooms, where students are first presented with the “building blocks” of a concept to master, these “Great Lessons” present the entirety of an idea first. Then, as the years progress in the Elementary program, the “building blocks” are uncovered, dissected, and analyzed through smaller lessons.

Last week, these students were presented with the First Great Lesson by Mrs. Fortun, complete with an erupting volcano in our own back yard. This lesson incorporated geography, physics, geology, meteorology, and more. This week our incoming First Grade students and new elementary students were treated to Mrs. Quevedo’s presentation of the Second Great Lesson. “The Coming of Life.”

The Second Great Lesson: Coming of Life


The Second Great Lesson presents our students with the amazing diversity and the long presence of life on Earth. As seen in front of Mrs. Quevedo, the teacher presents a colorful, information-packed timeline of life on earth – from tiny micro-organisms to the ages of goliath dinosaurs and mammals.

Through this Great Lesson, the concepts of biology, botany, fossils, the idea of “living” and “non-living”, and the Kingdom Animalia are explored. Additionally, students learn about geological time zones, different habitats, supercontinents, and the roles each organism played throughout time.

Later, students may select work on any one of these topics – or subtopics. But the foundation for the curiosity and excitement is first built during this early “Great Lesson.”