Throughout my book The Romance of Teaching I have sketched the outlines and presentations of many lessons associated with the Montessori elementary program. Experienced teachers have told me that they present these lessons in others ways. Teachers who are not familiar with the Montessori curriculum have suggested that the lessons sound interesting, but are too incomplete to be useful.
To address the concerns of both groups, I am offering here transcripts of the Bergamo lectures given during the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training, 1973-74. The lectures were delivered in Italian by Signore Camillo Grazzini and Signora Eleanor Honnegger, then translated sentence by sentence into English by a Mexican woman. I had come to Italy three months before the training course began for the purpose of studying Italian, hoping that it would give me an advantage in the course of study. Indeed, it did. After understanding most of what was said in Italian, I was able to write each sentence down almost word for word while it was being spoken in English. Therefore, I did not really “take notes,” but rather created a “transcript” of the lectures. Each night I went home to type what I had transcribed, using the red ribbon on the typewriter for what I understood would be the actual words and phrases a teacher would use during the lessons. (Often the lectures included lesson demonstrations.)
Perhaps my reference to typing will remind readers how very long ago this was. In the subsequent forty years, the elementary training course has been given many times in many places around the world. Undoubtedly lessons have been revised, improved, and thoughtfully developed. For example, many of the experiments once associated with the first story, the cosmic beginning or Big Bang, are now considered quite dangerous for a classroom. Missing from these files are two lessons now considered fundamental components of Cosmic Education: The History of Mathematics and The History of our Alphabet. Both were suggested in the Bergamo course, but neither was formally presented. In the January chapter of my book, I have described how I presented the History of Math, which I called the History of 1-2-3.
In the files offered here are the lectures I have cherished throughout my teaching career, returning again and again to my albums where they reside to study the details. And whenever I do that and follow through, the lessons go well. Lights of understanding come on in the eyes of my young listeners, and I become once more aware of the power of precise language and deliberate pedagogical actions.
I am aware of many errors in these transcripts. Of course they are my errors, attributable partly to transcribing poorly and also to subsequent lack of scrutiny.
Curriculum Available for Download:
- Introduction & Contents
- Numeration & Decimal Systems
- Memorization of Addition and Subtraction
- Memorization of Multiplication and Division
- Intro to Four Operations
- Four Operations with Large Numbers
- Multiples and Divisibility
- Decimal Numbers
- Relative Numbers
- Squaring & Cubing
- Introduction to History
- Concept of Time
- Cosmic Beginnings
- Clock of Eras
- Timeline of Life
- Concept of History
- Human History
- Great Civilizations
- Introduction & Contents
- Geometry Cabinet
- Geometry Nomenclature
- Exploring Triangles
- Congruence, Similarity & Equivalence
- Constructive Triangles
- Quadrilaterals, Polygons & Circles
- Angles of Polygons
- Insets of Equivalence
Charts for Fractions and Geometry
Thank you so much for sharing these notes from Bergamo. They have greatly enriched my own AMI training. Some of the files above are doubles I believe. I think there are actually 6 files in total. One of the files seems to be duplicated a few times within the same PDF file.
Thank you again. These notes will help to revive my cosmic stories given to the children!
THANKS so much for your encouragement, Kathleen. I am getting better at organizing these files and will delete the duplicates!
Soon the complete Bergamo lectures from that year will be here…very soon!
Dear Ann Angell, Delighted to see such generosity of your albums. These complement my own training albums and am so glad that you are enabling the movement to grow stronger with the veterans’ words and approach. May God bless you and your family.
Your generosity will certainly enrich my knowledge. Thank you!