Story of Our Numerals A story, supplemented with numeric illustrations, that explains how humans learned to use written symbols to represent quantity, underscoring the importance of mathematics in our world. Elementary Key Lessons These lessons, often presented with didactic materials, offer keys to open the doors of learning. Each Key Lesson provides a point of departure for the child to pursue further knowledge. Montessori Key Lessons are brief and free from complicated explanations. They provide enough information to allow the child to work with the concept or material at length and in a variety of ways, often remaining unaware of what they are expected to learn from the process. Through uninterrupted work and accessing the blossoming imagination, the child can experience an aha!’ moment of discovery as she realizes the intent of the exercise. The learning becomes the point of arrival, after the child has internalized the concept through manipulation and exploration. The guide assesses the student’s progress and presents follow-up lessons to steer the discovery or redirect the exploration. Elementary Practical Life Practical life activities encourage the development of independence and foster the child’s adaptation to the social community of her environment. At the elementary level, practical life occurs through the social organization of community tasks in which the children care for the classroom environment, the plants and animals and the outdoor environment. Practical life is also expressed through the preparation and activities involved ingoing ou4 in which students take self-initiated trips into the larger community to study and learn. Elementary Going Out The major acquisitions of the child on the path of self-construction from about the ages of six to twelve are tremendous intellectual growth, moral development and a desire for further social independence. This child has a fundamental need to know about the ‘universe’. The knowledge the child acquires in this stage is potentially limitless. This is the time of building responsibility toward the world and its inhabitants. Social and moral issues are of great interest to the child during the second plane of development. Dr. Montessori considered the ‘will’ as the power of the human being to make purposeful choices. This ability to pause, reflect and make a decision is unique to human beings. The act of choosing an activity or pursuing a specific interest in a purposeful manner aids in the development of the will. Making 43