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Entries in Montessori and nature (22)


Spring Beckons Us

Spring beckons us outdoors; tempts us with warmer weather and fragrant scents.  The world comes alive in color and activity.  Animals, birds, bees and insects hum into action transforming the quiet cold of winter into the blossoming and buzzing growth of spring.  Dr. Montessori shared that the child can first normalize in Nature, the outdoor environment.  Here a child finds themselves surrounded by the natural world, in cooperation with the natural laws and rhythms of life.  They are inspired to explore and interact with all they encounter.

One such experience for my classroom took place early one spring when a mother deer gave birth to twin fawns outside our classroom and in our outdoor environment.  The children were respectful and enchanted by the tender scenes of the mother caring for the babies.  They waited and watched as the babies’ fur dried and they stood and took their first steps.  The composting leaves we piled together in the fall were the perfect bedding for this small family.  The children were wondering and discussing if the babies would eat the blossoming flowers they had planted.  They were curious and thoughtful of the needs of the babies and wanted to get water from the rain barrel to give to them.  Our morning was abuzz with ideas, discussions and reflecting on the needs of all creatures.

Providing opportunities for children to be outside, from reading or working at a table, to gardening and exploring offers the child a chance to express their own creative inspirations from Nature.  It also gives them an opportunity to explore their place in the natural world and how they are connected to the environment.

This time of year renews my creative energies and I would encourage everyone to find ways to get outside. 

Here are two links for activities and information about offering such opportunities to children.

Outdoor Activity Suggestions:
Gardening with Children:

Laveeta Sweeney,
UMA Lead Evaluator

Photo contributed by Gardenview Montessori School 


Happy Earth Day! UMA breaks ground on our organic garden.

Enjoy Day One (on Earth Day) of the start of our UMA Organic Garden!

Share with us the ways you and/or your school are making a difference on our planet.


Earth Day is Coming: April 22nd!

 Get primed for Earth Day by starting it with Earth Day Week, April 17-22. For us here at UMA, we will be offering video demos of planning, prepping and installing an organic vegetable garden. Use these video demos as resources for how you can plant a garden at your school, neighborhood or at home. All you need is a small space, some good soil and seeds or starts.

We will also offer more resources and links to not only get you started but keep you motivated in working with God's creation!

Do you have resources to share for Earth Day week? Let us know so that we can share them here on the blog.

Check out more at:


Last Day to signup for One Week for Water

Globally, we are in a water crisis and we can do something about it: share information!
This is the last day for anyone to donate status on facebook or twitter.   To find out more, go to:


Children can learn more about our National Parks

Came across this great site of the National Park Service's site for children of all ages. It is especially geared for older children above age 6. There is plenty to do here and explore and a great way to learn about nature and the outdoors. Try it out:


New Urbanism: Rooftop Farming

There are several ways for us to make a difference in our children's lives. Perhaps this video will stir some imagination on how we can help our children see the earth as alive and a part of who we are!

Enjoy and Learn...!


Original Project: Geography and Art

Recently John and Trudy participated in the Pacific NW Montessori Association’s Sharing Fair, held at the Seattle Islamic Montessori School. We are featuring one of many wonderful projects for you to enjoy. This project was shared by Robyn Atkins, who says, “This is a great project for Geography studies, a solar system unit, Earth Day, or anytime you are talking about Planet Earth!”

Materials required are:

FIMO clay...brown (for land), blue (for water), and white (for air)
Toothpicks or large tack to make a hole in the clay
Hemp string
Mini-muffin tin for baking

Earth Beads
Making the Beads
Wearing the Beads

Let us know at UMA if you would like more information on the project and the steps in presentation.



Camping with Children: Ten Commandments

Here in the states, school being out is just around the corner and for many, camping is either a family ritual or many would like to try it but want help on how to make it a rewarding experience for children. So here are some tips called the 10 Camping Commandments that I gather from

1. Trips with children should be to places where there is a guarantee of action. A good example is camping in a park where large numbers of wildlife can be viewed, such as squirrels, chipmunks, deer and even bear. Other good choices are fishing at a small pond loaded with bluegill, or hunting in a spot where a kid can shoot a .22 at pine cones all day. Boys and girls want action, not solitude.
2. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you aren't excited about an adventure, you can't expect a child to be. Show a genuine zest for life in the outdoors, and point out everything as if it is the first time you have ever seen it.
3. Always, always, always be seated when talking to someone small. This allows the adult and child to be on the same level. That is why fishing in a small boat is perfect for adults and kids. Nothing is worse for youngsters than having a big person look down at them and give them orders. What fun is that?
4. Always show how to do something, whether it is gathering sticks for a campfire, cleaning a trout or tying a knot. Never tell— always show. A button usually clicks to"off" when a kid is lectured. But they can learn behavior patterns and outdoor skills by watching adults, even when the adults are not aware they are being watched.
5. Let kids be kids. Let the adventure happen, rather than trying to force it within some preconceived plan. If they get sidetracked watching pollywogs, chasing butterflies or sneaking up on chipmunks, let them be. A youngster can have more fun turning over rocks and looking at different kinds of bugs then sitting in one spot, waiting for a fish to bite.
6. Expect young peoples' attention spans to be short. Instead of getting frustrated about it, use it to your advantage. How? By bringing along a bag of candy and snacks. Where there is a lull in the camp activity, out comes the bag. Don't let them know what goodies await, so each one becomes a surprise.
7. Make absolutely certain the child's sleeping bag is clean, dry and warm. Nothing is worse than discomfort when trying to sleep, but a refreshing sleep makes for a positive attitude the next day. In addition, kids can become quite scared of animals at night. The parent should not wait for any signs of this, but always play the part of the outdoor guardian, the one who will "take care of everything."
8. Kids quickly relate to outdoor ethics. They will enjoy eating everything they kill, building a safe campfire and picking up all their litter, and they will develop a sense of pride that goes with it. A good idea is to bring extra plastic garbage bags to pick up any trash you come across. Kids long remember when they do something right that somebody else has done wrong.
9. If you want youngsters hooked on the outdoors for life, take a close-up photograph of them holding up fish they have caught, blowing on the campfire or completing other camp tasks. Young children can forget how much fun they had, but they never forget if they have a picture of it.
10. The least important word you can ever say to a kid is "I." Keep track of how often you are saying "Thank you" and "What do you think?" If you don't say them very often, you'll lose out. Finally, the most important words of all are: "I am proud of you."


Sequencing and Matching Exercise, Pam Morgan

Pam Morgan of Elkin WV shares with us the beautiful, natural materials she used to make a sequencing and matching exercise, using cross sections of tree limbs. It was a joint project, in that her husband had made the tray by hand. Thank you, Pam, for inspiring us to utilize the beauty of creation, so that we might, in turn, inspire the children to appreciate and value their natural environment.


UMA Audio Cast Tip of the Week- Plant a Garden!

Our Tip of the Week is:

Additional Resources: