A Scope and Sequence is not the Law

A Scope and Sequence is not the Law

If you are just starting out in Montessori, you may be jostling to find some documents to help you work out the epic curriculum. 

There are many scope and sequences available that walk you through the progression of lessons and a way to teach them. I have two of my own that you can purchase: a cosmic curriculum scope and sequence and a math scope and sequence

I want to ask you, though, not to follow the scope and sequence like a law book. For a practical example you may find this post helpful. 

We need to follow the child. 

Scope means the breadth and width of something, but it also means the opportunities and possibilities. Let's focus on the opportunities and possibilities rather than the order.

In my scope and sequences, I present an age range in which the presentation works well. This isn't the law, nor is the order that it is laid out on the page! 

While you can theoretically lay out in breathtaking detail what you are going to do each year for a certain topic, this is not what Montessori envisioned in her curriculum.  Scope and sequences should be used as a guide to jog our memory and prompt us with presentations.

A scope and sequence doesn't list everything that is happening in the child's world. Some might say that if we follow a scope and sequence we are instead coming from a position of being the 'knowledge holder' and passing that knowledge on in a transactional form to the child. We need to realise that the child also has their own knowledge and may be constructing both their knowledge and their world from a different place than what I have listed in my scope and sequence.

At the time of writing, COVID-19 is rampant. Children need to feel secure and safe. Emotional and mental health activities for me are a higher priority at this time than ticking off something on my scope and sequence. 

If an eight-year-old child in my class is interested in electronics, but this is not on the scope and sequence for their age, do I ignore the interest in lieu of following what is listed on the scope and sequence? No. I may jump to the 9-12 curriculum and find some presentations from there that link to the child's interests. 

If a six-year-old child in my class is fluent in their times tables and understands them, do I insist the child practices the multiplication bead board because that is listed as an item for six-year-olds or first year children in a 6-9 class? No, I don't. This would be a waste of the child's time and patronising of me to assume they need to have the listed lesson.

Children bring with them their own funds of knowledge or life experiences and we need to capitalise on these to enter the child's world and deliver the cosmic curriculum to them. As Michael and D'Neill Duffy put it in Children of the Universe, "Cosmic Education is intended to help each of us search for our cosmic task as a species and as individuals. To do this, we must understand ourselves in context. It is only against the background of our place in the universe, our relationship to other living organisms, and our understanding of human unity within cultural diversity, that we can attempt to answer the question 'Who am I?'"



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