That's why each school year begins on the first day of school with the First Great Lesson, the Big Bang, and takes the children through the entire beginnings of life on our planet (all of evolution from ooze to us), then on to early humans, ancient civilizations, and the conceptualization of both written language and mathematics. All in the first few months of the school year.
That's why the children do multiplication to the hundred millions place in first grade, using the Checkerboard and Colored Bead Bars and Number Tiles as the hands-on material so that these huge problems are accessible to them.
Dr. Montessori felt that we could and should meet children where they are, take them where they want to go, and not talk down to them.
I once had a parent of an eight year old express concern because her child didn't seem to be outgrowing picture books. I told her that picture books are completely appropriate for him, for her, for me, and for everyone! And anybody who watches me teach or reads my blog or website knows that I use lots of picture books in my teaching. They are wonderful and universal.
So I've been struck lately by what feels to me like a proliferation of picture books covering Big Ideas. Maybe it's the Common Core's emphasis on teaching children to read non-fiction. Maybe it's because children in a digital age are more used to taking in their information visually instead of just verbally. But it does seem like there are so many lovely new picture books which go deeply into advanced topics. They are rich and content heavy... truly created for older childen and not for the preschool child.
Here are just a few that come to mind. Please share your favorites!!!
Really Big Numbers
by Richard Evan Schwartz
by Jenny Broom
by Jo Nelson
by Kathy Willis
The Story of Life: Evolution
by Fiona Munro and Ruth Symons
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
by Seth Fishman
The Street Beneath My Feet
by Charlotte Gullain
The Skies Above My Eyes
by Charlotte Gullain
When the Whales Walked:
And Other Incredible Evolutionary Journeys
by Dougal Dixon
The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth:
Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems
by Rachel Ignotofsky
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