Dr. Maria Montessori stressed the importance of outdoor time for children. She felt that connection with nature was a key part of childhood that should never be skipped or pushed aside. That’s why students at Brooksfield School are always given plenty of time to explore their outdoor environment.
Quiet times spent simply thinking and feeling in nature, rowdy times spent climbing rugged trees and rolling down soft, grassy hills, and curious times spent investigating, exploring, and discussing the plants and animals around them are all integral parts of a child’s education. In a Montessori environment, students are allowed all of these special times outdoors and are encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity to spend time outside.
When young people spend time outdoors and have a true and deep connection to nature, they gain a desire to protect what they discover to be so very wonderful and magical. Because of this desire in Montessori students, many Montessori schools have incorporated eco-education into their day.
By first showing the next generation the beauty of the world around them and allowing them to create a bond with their planet, and then demonstrating to the students how to conserve what is so beautiful to them, we aim to improve the future of our world. After all, a person with a personal connection with something is much more likely to want to protect that thing.
Below are a few ways some schools have implemented nature education into their curricula. Many of these things can be done at home as well, demonstrating to children that green and sustainable living is an important part of all aspects of our lives.
As an added bonus, implementing these practices at home will make your lifestyle that much greener, helping to make the world a better place to live.
Nature Education Tip 1: Plant a Vegetable Garden
Digging in the dirt and planting seeds is a fun activity for all ages, and anyone can learn to weed a garden and water plants. Planting and caring for a vegetable garden is an amazing way to educate kids about the world. Making the children responsible for certain aspects of caring for the garden helps build character and work ethic.
Watching the plants grow helps young people understand the life cycle of plants as well as where our food comes from. The end product of vegetables from the garden make for a great addition to lunch and give children a sense of accomplishment when they see that they have contributed to a meal.
Best of all, planting a vegetable garden contributes to a greener lifestyle by eliminating a bit of our reliance on mass farming, delivery trucks, and grocery stores and putting a bit more plant life in the world.
Nature Education Tip 2: Make a Compost Pile
Many schools have added a compost pile or bin to their school grounds. It’s incredibly easy to do. Compost piles reduce the amount of waste we dump into landfills and provide us with amazing fertilizer for gardening. Composting is a great way to teach kids about the different kinds of waste products we put into the world, how we can cut back on the amount of waste we put into landfills by using mostly fresh fruits and vegetables and less pre-packaged food, and the importance of reusing our waste whenever possible.
Nature Education Tip 3: Recycling
Like the compost pile, recycling is another great way to educate kids on the importance of reusing waste products whenever possible. This is another easy way to implement greener practices into your home life as well. By getting young people into the habit of recycling now, we increase the chance they will recycle as adults.
If you are interested in sending your child to a wonderful Montessori school that offers eco-education as part of their day-to-day activities, please contact us at Brooksfield School. We are always happy to welcome new students and families in our community.