Gardening becomes the focus for many of us in the spring and summer and it’s no different in the Montessori school system. Planting gardens with the children in the spring gives them understanding about soil, seeds and the growing process of plants. Seeing their amazement when the seeds actually become a plant through their efforts and nurturing is an incredibly rewarding experience.
What gardening can teach your child
Through a botany unit, your child will begin by studying dirt which is a very basic level, but a good starting point for them to learn about the different types of dirt there are. Your child will be able to discover what soil looks like under a microscope, test it to see if it can absorb water, and then look at the types of seeds they are going to plant.
Allowing your child to choose the type of garden to plant
The next step is to choose what to plant and to choose a theme such as a rainbow, soup garden to create a meal from, salad garden to create a salad from or perhaps even a fairy garden. By allowing your child to choose the type of garden he or she wants to plant teaches them to do things by themselves.
Your child will be shown how to plant the seeds by modeling for them in a biodegradable plant holder. Keeping the steps simple they are shown how to pour the dirt, poke a hole for the seed, place the seed in the hole and cover it up. This small holder with seed is watered with a dropper and placed on a windowsill in the sun.
Montessori approach to gardening
The Montessori approach to gardening is to teach your child the science behind it so they understand more of what goes into growing that little seed. The story, The Reason For A Flower by Ruth Heller is a great story to introduce this meaning. They will also have your child create garden art by drawing a picture or making a craft of the plant explaining what they think the seed will grow into.
Montessori believes when your child learns the art of gardening they learn the meaning of nurturing as they care for their seed and watch it grow into a beautiful plant. With tools fit to their size, your child will care for and help their seed to mature. When the seed has fully matured into an edible or enjoyable plant, your child is allowed to harvest, wash, and prepare them for whichever choice they made for their garden to become.
At Montessori Pleasanton, we have educational programs geared towards children two and a half to six and a half years in age.