Connecting children to the world they live in is an important part of a Montessori education. Maria Montessori herself said, “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” In an age of rising tides, increased extinctions, and historic droughts, learning to understand the world around us is more vital than ever before.
Learning Through Discovery
Montessori learning includes nature as a tool for education. Children are encouraged to spend time outside, exploring the world, observing natural events, and investigating how all of nature works as a system. This could be anything from charting the weather to studying an anthill. The important thing is for the children to be immersed in nature in such a way that the world they live in becomes part of the educational process.
Another way to get children involved in nature is to allow them more access to the outdoors. In Montessori learning, that may be as simple as reading a book while soaking in a few rays. Children are already fascinated by living things, they simply need a little guidance and a lot of freedom to explore and learn.
Nature, Math, and Sciences
Everything in nature can be defined through mathematics and the sciences. Biology is the study of living things, for example, and physics is a collection of the rules that allow the cosmos to function in a clockwork fashion. Even geometry is well-represented in such random things as the petals on a flower, the seemingly random design of a snowflake, or the shape of a pine cone. With Montessori education, children are able to use real-world examples as part of their everyday learning material.
There is an invisible thread which ties all things together, living and nonliving alike. Heat creates clouds, and clouds make rain, which nourishes living things and slowly erodes the mountains themselves. By allocating a portion of each student’s day in this elegant dance, the kids are able to learn from examples and natural portrayals, giving them concrete awareness of how our world interacts at all levels. The fact that Sir Isaac Newton identified gravity and then created a whole new kind of advanced mathematics from what he learned is proof that awareness of the greater world outside is an educational benefit.
Learning from the outdoors was once the way all children were taught, before brick and mortar schools with dictated curriculums separated them. In Montessori education, the goal is to combine the modern goals of education with the ancient ambiance of the world. Understanding the function we play in the world at large is becoming an imperative for the next generation, and Montessori education is taking important steps in the right direction.
At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Cedar Campus, we incorporate outdoors learning into our everyday curriculum. Students are encouraged to learn from nature and incorporate their new knowledge into other subject areas. To see how we teach middle school students to embrace the outdoors, call us today to schedule a tour!