Cosmic Task

Before I had even heard of Montessori Education, before I ever even knew I had it in me to work with young children, let alone head a Montessori school, I picked up a book on early childhood development on a whim. It was by Maria Montessori, and in it she discussed the prepared environment and about the teacher’s role in the classroom. She writes at length about the preparation of a guide because the role of a Montessori guide is not to teach subjects but to provide children an environment within which they discover their Cosmic Task.

In the context of a Montessori environment, Cosmic Task refers to the decree each living thing comes into this world to carry out. It is built on the idea that everything has its own unique function in the cosmic plan.

The child pictured above spent close to an hour of intense focus, peaceful focus on his painting. He took great care to set everything up. Started with the sky, then the tree, then the flower, then the grass. A bluish puddle began to cover the grass, then it began to rain and storm. When he completed the dark clouds at the top of the paper, he put his paint brush down, contemplated his piece with such thoughtfulness before letting me know he was done.

Our day in Children’s House is full of moments like this one, where children immerse themselves in their work, in their Cosmic Task, which is to construct the human being itself, to build the foundation for peace in this world. What is this child’s Cosmic Task? What was his spirit working out / learning / expressing as he created this beautiful artwork? As the guides in the classroom, what must we present next? Which part of the environment is in the process of opening up to him?

Adults have a Cosmic Task too, of course, to prepare, maintain and nourish the environment. This is an awesome duty and privilege, and what ultimately sets a Montessori experience apart from all other modes of education.

Author: Lila Jokanovic

MontesLila Jokanovic is the Executive Director at Council Oak Montessori School. Prior to taking on administrative duties, Lila was the Lead Guide in Children’s House from 2008 to 2015. Currently, she is enjoying the opportunity to be back in the classroom in addition to guiding the school!

Council Oak Montessori School