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: http://www.takeachildoutside.org/activities/gettingstarted.html
Gardening with Children: http://www.kidsgardening.com
UMA Lead Evaluator
Photo contributed by Gardenview Montessori School