Looking Closer at the Fundamental Needs Card Sets

I have a lot to share about the new Fundamental Needs of People Card Sets, but it seemed like too much to put in the description of the item.

So, I thought I’d blog about it!

Here are some possible questions:

1. Who are these cards intended for?

These cards are intended for a child who has worked with both the Fundamental Needs of People Chart (including an introductory lesson, objects, and possibly reading a story like Robinson Crusoe).

As well, it’s important that they work with the Fundamental Needs of People Nomenclature Cards, since those give a definition for each of the 13 needs of people.

Since those lessons are usually given starting in first grade, and the child needs time to work with those materials and master them, I recommend these new card sets for 2nd grade on up. The reading level is age 8-11.

2. Why can’t I buy just one set individually?

I thought of listing them individually, but that would be a lot of extra work for me (13 items instead of just one!) And, any child who has worked on the Fundamental Needs Chart needs to learn about all the needs – not just one or two.

Also, to your benefit, if I listed them separately they would have been $4.99 each for a total of $64.87. So doing it this way means savings for all of you.

3. What exactly is included in this set?

This set is really 13 individual sets of cards. There is one set for each of the fundamental needs of people: religion, culture, social acceptance, legal system, health, money, tools, transportation, clothing, food, defense, shelter, and communication.

Each of the 13 sets has 12 pictures, labels, control cards, and definitions. It’s actually 91 printed pages all together!

4. Can you list the terms for each set?

Sure, here they are:

  • Clothing: wedding gown and tuxedo, kimono, firefighter equipment, sweater, sari, cheongsam, jeans and t-shirt, lederhosen, kilt, space suit, sports uniform, scrubs
  • Communication: signs, talking, mail, cell phone, body language, writing, praying, Braille, email, sign language, meeting, fine arts
  • Culture: holidays, language, manners, monuments, learning, agriculture, fine arts, diversity, art gallery, books, museums, customs
  • Defense: fortress, walls, castle, safe, military, self-defense, fences, boulders, lock, weapons, security camera, police officer
  • Food: shish kebab, casserole, soup, dessert, pasta, salad, vegetables, dim sum, bread, burger, sandwich, fruit
  • Health: exercise, strength training, nutrition, hospital, aromatherapy, supplements, hydration, yoga, sports, check-up, doctors and nurses, play
  • Legal System: laws, law library, capitol building, law enforcement, courthouse, incarceration, marriage, village council, judge, legislature, courtroom, legal document
  • Money: coins, paper money, piggy bank, allowance, charity, credit cards, bank, checks, shells, bartering, trading, ancient coins
  • Religion: holy book, meals, idol, ceremonies, prayer, meditation, rosary, temple, rituals, mosque, cross, church
  • Shelter: house, igloo, cave, cottage, hut, yurt, farmhouse, camper, log cabin, teepee (tipi), apartment, condominium
  • Social Acceptance: handshake, mother, team, friends, study group, community, celebrations, family, role models, marriage, father, grandparents
  • Tools: art tools, gardening tools, farming tools, simple machines, woodworking tools, cutting tools, utensils, writing tools, construction tools, fire, drawing tools, medical tools
  • Transportation: car, horseback riding, double-decker bus, train, boat, bicycle, horse and carriage, recreational vehicles, walking, hot air balloons, airplane, motorcycles

5. How did you choose the terms?

There are dozens of potential terms for each category, but we had to narrow it to 12 each. We tried to make them cover as much ground as possible. As we always do, we made every effort to include as many countries and cultures as possible, and the definitions are written in a way that does not favor any specific country or culture.

6. Is there some overlap?

A few of the terms are included in more than one set. We felt that was necessary, because some are very important to more than one human need.

When we did include a term twice, we made sure that the pictures and definitions in each set were very different, so that the result is complementary information rather than repetition.

7. What if the child wants to know more?

We tried to make every word count when writing the definitions, but at a few sentences per term, there’s certainly lots more to learn. If a child shows interest in one of the types of needs, be sure to encourage them to do some additional research. These cards should be a springboard.

Hope this helps you understand the Fundamental Needs of People Card Sets!

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11 Responses to “Looking Closer at the Fundamental Needs Card Sets”

  • Mary Avola said at July 2nd, 2009 at 9:19 am :

    Hi Lori,
    Albanezi has a product that covers the history of civilizations. You probably know it, but it covers the fundamental needs through from early time to modern day. Have you made this material yet. I like your fundamental needs info, but really need historical version for my class. I’d love to find an updated version, as the Albanesi pictures are outdated.
    Thank you,

  • Lori Bourne said at July 2nd, 2009 at 9:28 am :

    Hi, Mary! The historic version (like clothing through the ages) is great too. I don’t have plans to make my own set like that one, but hopefully someone will do one with updated pictures and definitions.

    You’d be surprised at how much historical information is in this set as well.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  • Brigitte said at July 2nd, 2009 at 9:43 pm :

    I’ve been looking through these cards and they are amazing, realistic, and dramatic. I cannot wait to use them in the fall. I am also excited to talk about them in our teacher training session. They are well worth the money as always! Looking forward to more!

  • Michelle Irinyi said at July 3rd, 2009 at 8:37 am :


    These are wonderful! I can’t believe how much work went into these. When used in conjunction with your Fundamental Needs of People charts and Fundamental Needs of People nomenclature cards, students will really be able to delve deep into understanding and learning about the Fundamental Needs of People. It will strengthen their awareness that despite our differences, we are all truly the same, having the same basic needs. This is a crucial step towards both Cosmic Education and Peace.

    Thank you for providing such a fantastic resource for children and teachers.

    Michelle Irinyi

  • Lori Bourne said at July 4th, 2009 at 8:25 pm :

    Thanks for your kind words, ladies! I am very pleased with how they turned out, and eager to use them with my son this fall.

  • Lori Adam said at August 28th, 2012 at 7:04 pm :

    Have you ever made the historical version of the needs of man cards? I saw the post was from 2009, and hoped you maybe made these!

  • Lori Bourne said at August 28th, 2012 at 7:26 pm :

    Hi, fellow Lori! No, I’ve never made those cards 🙂

  • Fran said at February 20th, 2013 at 9:20 am :

    i am comparing options for the fundamental needs charts. And I am very confused about some of the offerings.

    Would you mind please explaining how/why your chart you provide is so very different from the one that others claim is like what comes from Maria Montessori? For example, one website pointed out that money is not on the original chart and indeed isn’t a fundamental need. But it is certainly something that the children like to study through time. I guess I could see this one fulfilling an actual fundamental need, but not an actual fundamental need itself? Or are we now looking at modern culture and not at fundamental needs through time?

    See why I’m confused. I think I’m over-thinking this.

  • Lori Bourne said at February 20th, 2013 at 9:36 am :

    Hi, Fran! There are lots of different Fundamental Needs Charts out there (although this post is about card sets, not charts). Each is simply the version of the person who created it, so I don’t think there’s any one chart that is more “Montessori” than the other.

    Do you see how under “Money”, I list terms like “bartering” and “trading”? Money represents far more than what we think of it today as bills and coins and electronic transactions. Throughout history, humans have needed ways to swap goods and services. It is indeed a fundamental need of humans to be able to to do that. I’ve called the category “Money” but includes a lot more than that.

  • Fran said at February 20th, 2013 at 10:31 am :

    Thank you! That’s kind of what I was thinking with money too – the exchange of goods has always been there as no one person can create all they need, right?

    I couldn’t find a place to comment on the charts, which is why I’m posting here.

    Do you know if Maria Montessori actually developed a chart or if the people who claim their chart is the chart developed by her aren’t as accurate as they think?

  • Lori Bourne said at February 20th, 2013 at 1:29 pm :

    Hi, Fran! I do not know who developed the chart. Many Montessori materials were made by her, but many by her students and other Montessorians over the years.

    I am also a fan of updating and correcting materials as needed – I would never, ever say that we need to keep materials exactly as they were developed even if they were made by Maria herself. Too much has changed in science, language, social studies, etc. for us to be afraid of updates. She would be the first to want us to correct mistakes and modernize the materials!