Life Through Time
by Sharon Caldwell
One of the most important aims of the Cosmic Education component of the Elementary Montessori Curriculum is to inspire a sense of awe and wonder in the child and to act as a key to further exploration. Frans Lanting’s photographs and commentary, Life Through Time provides a superb resource which achieves just that.
Here’s what Montessorians are saying about Life Through Time:
“I've long admired Lanting's brilliant camera work, but this ... this is work far, far beyond photography-as-record or photography-as-didactic- illustration, beyond even photography-as-art ... perhaps photography-as-revelation, photography-as-awakening ...
I am exhilarated and moved to tears by many of these images. They completely transcend the virtuosic technique that birthed them to become testaments to the spiritual power of Seeing What Is, the liberation always and everywhere available in the heartfelt apprehension of things as they really are. What luminous intelligence shines through them, calling forth the luminous intelligence inside the receptive viewer!
How poignant and right that this work should appear now. Should we not awaken and take action to save our planet from ourselves; should our grandchildren be left an earth blasted, hostile, and diminished by our depredations, cultural historians will, I think, look back on Lanting's project as an important pinnacle in the contours of human consciousness -- much as we might view, say, Beethoven's 9th as something coming out of and towering above the deep confusion and bloody chaos of 19th century Europe.”
“The site got me thinking about why it is so wonderful and about what we can learn about the ideals of learning material design. Here are some of my thoughts about characteristics of this site that I would like to incorporate in this work.
1) The whole work is very esthetically pleasing. It is a wonderful marriage of art and science.
2) The creators did their homework. The information is a high quality, current view of the subject.
3) There is no attempt to be comprehensive. Instead the creators aimed to be inspiring. A comprehensive timeline of life would have so many details that the big ideas would be lost.
4) Many additional resources are given for those who wish to pursue the subject further.
5) The design is such that we always know where we are. The strip at the bottom helps us keep our perspective. When we zoom in, we can tell how that detail relates to the whole.”
- Priscilla Spears.
Perhaps the most astounding aspect of this work is how Lanting tells the story of the history of the earth and life using photographs of the present, presenting a picture, not of what is long gone, but of a living, evolving, vibrant earth, the most recent view of what Dr. Montessori regarded as the cosmic plan. Surely we owe it to the children in our lives to share this wonderful work with them. What better justification for the use of computers in the Montessori elementary classroom than giving children access to work such as this.
Access the presentation at www.lifethroughtime.com
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Last Updated (Saturday, 29 November 2008 04:04)