At Fox Valley Montessori School, Art and Science are part of our regular curriculum and core classroom activities. Beautifully prepared classrooms along with a large outdoor playground offer ample opportunities for naturally occurring learning opportunities. You can provide opportunities for your child to learn from nature this summer while they’re home—with a few prompts, you can help them cultivate an awareness of life cycles, textures, sounds and more.
Outdoor spaces are full of interesting subjects and views, from colorful flowers to interesting limb structures which can awaken and inspire artwork. To encourage your child to use the yard or any special place in nature as an art studio, have them choose a safe and quiet spot that allows them to work with uninterrupted focus. This could be a corner in the yard, or a bench or chair placed underneath a tree. Make sure to provide coloring paper, a clipboard or an easel if you have one at home, pencils, crayons, or pastels. Perhaps your child would prefer to make photographs of what they have discovered as well.
Ask your child what kind of changes he or she can observe during the day. Does the garden look the same in the early morning as in the late afternoon? Where is the sun casting it’s shadows at different times of the day? How did the flower look in the morning different than later in the day?
The changes are most visible to a child if given the opportunity to watch the entire life cycle of a plant. Try planting seeds indoors and transplanting them into your garden when they are seedlings, your child can observe the plant from seed to harvest, or from seed to seed. Furthermore, learning may take place regarding the needs of a plant, how to take care of a plant, and your child may become increasingly aware of the beauty and of our interconnection with nature.