As we are into the season of Fall, the natural world is amidst some of the most obvious changes within the yearly cycle. For children, this means the excitement of leaves, the observations of changing animal activity, and noticeable weather differences. In a Montessori classroom, we include experiences with nature as often as we can consistently throughout the seasons. September and October have allowed us to bring the beauty of nature to our children and they have been able to touch, observe, and even help our natural environment. Beyond using the materials on our shelves, we had a group presentation about rakes in which we discussed the parts and rake safety and then each child was invited to use a rake to add to our pile before handing it to a friend. The children have requested that the rakes come to the playground on other days and they look forward to building up the piles and, of course, jumping in them!
Two of our friends in the classroom participated in community service by sweeping the leaves from the sidewalk and were ready to take on the sidewalks down Commonwealth! One of our adult friends in the school brought us a large sunflower from her home from which the children have been able to extract its seeds. The children were immediately captivated by the feeling of the seeds and many of them had not seen a sunflower up close before. Whatever the object or activity in nature, children are joyful to feel trusted with things that we adults see as such common events. By allowing experiences with nature, we are showing them what the earth is made of and that it must be cared for and nurtured.
“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”
– Maria Montessori