The Outdoor Environment
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature.” -Dr. Montessori
The Importance of Nature
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the outdoors should be an extension of the classroom. she had a deep respect for nature and believed it can be a point of inspiration for children.
Nature Walks play a big role in our community as we try to connect the children to nature. As another connection to nature, Children's House children are exposed to real materials such as: wood, cotton, metal, bamboo, etc. It is important to implement the same concept of indoor to outdoor materials and furniture. The tools should be child-size as we are ensuring the proper use of the materials and the children's independence and less involvements of adults. Montessori believed nature offers infinite ways to support child's cognitive, emotional and physical development. Nature is connected to many of the activities inside our classrooms such as the study of Botany; the child then has the opportunity to observe a real leaf before get the presentation on the shape and name of that leaf.
“It is also necessary for his physical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature.”
The Prepared Outdoor Environment
As with the carefully prepared environment of the Montessori classroom, so is the environment of the outdoor area. Thus, making it an extension of the classroom. This area is prepared for independent work and gives the child the opportunity to explore, learn, thrive, experience, and care for their surroundings.
The exercises of the Outdoor Environment allow for the child to practice and further develop the skills that are taught in the classroom exercises. The open area encourages gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and concentration works. Some of these exercises include watering the garden, hammering, raking the leaves, and sweeping.
Some exercises encourage language skills. There may be an exercise that names the plants around the garden, parts of a leaf, parts of a bird, or label cards for all the items in the environment. The children are able to explore the insects and may find one that is interesting and want to learn more about it.
All the Children's House classrooms are also learning about ways to compost. We have begun to share with the children, items that can be placed in the compost bin we have on the school grounds. The children love adding scrapes from snack preparation to the bin. We are anxious to see our efforts with nutrient rich soil.
Observations in Nature
The Montessori Guide has been described as a skillful observer within the Prepared Environment. She is constantly seeking cues of interests, skills, analysis of movement and much, much more from the child’s daily activity. There is a harmonious intertwinement to nature that is not only apparent within each child’s natural development; it is crucial in developing his personality. The child himself is innately observant, learning vicariously from peer to peer. The instinctive need to observe can be especially present when a child is given the opportunity to explore the Earth’s wonders.
Our goals in supporting these opportunities for the child include, allowing them to develop an appreciation of life and an awareness of the interdependence/interrelatedness of nature. For example: all living things have a life-cycle. What are the specific classifications of living things? From plants to animals, mammals, invertebrates and invertebrates; What is life composed of? What makes these ‘living things’ grow? How can we help the earth to grow and sustain health? What makes us grow and sustain health? We open the door for practical ways to give the child tools which guide their observations of nature. We help the child establish a framework in which he may begin to relate his experiences. These concepts are supported through Language, Sensorial, Mathematics, Practical Life, Culture and Science extensions over the Three Year Cycle.
A Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms
It is hard to believe that another school year is coming to the end. However, the children are as energetic and excited as the beginning. It has been a great privilege to watch them flourish every day. We were honored to be a host to another Student Teacher, Ms.Sherry, during the last few weeks. The children were excited to get new lessons and learn new songs from her. We wish Ms.Sherry the best of luck with her new career as a Montessori Lead Guide.
At last we would like to thank all the parents who took the time to participate in our last Social of the year and hope everyone had a great time. Thank you to all who have dedicated their time to set up and clean up and brought the delicious food.
Ms.Mahsa & Ms.Dinora
Many thanks to all who supported our Annual Charity Event!!!! It was a great success, crazy fun, and all for a wonderful cause. It is so humbling to see such care and support for our community. A heart-felt thank you to all the parents that spent time helping the children with the art project and donations to the basket. The children were so proud of their work!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Thank you to all the families that attended our Spring Social. It is nice to relax, laugh, and get to know everyone on a more intimate level.
We are trying hard to enjoy the Outdoor Environment while it is still rather pleasant in the afternoon hours. We continue to harvest vast amounts of tomatoes and mint leaves and serve them for snack. The children are enjoy wondering up to our cilantro and basil plants and have a taste. We recently planted sweet peppers and squash. Our strawberries are slowly coming along.
We look forward to our Parent/Teacher Conferences in May and a wonderful end to the school year.
Ms. Johna and Ms. Eugenia
Dear Gray Fox Families,
April was another wonderful month in our Children's House. We are truly seeing the magic of the environment unfold as each child displays their understanding of classroom Grace and Courtesy lessons. It has been a pleasure to welcome a few new students, the seasoned children astound us with their hospitality and friendliness. The temperatures are quickly rising, please remember to send your child to school with sunscreen pre-applied as they often work in outdoor environment and go on nature walks.
The bonds in our community are becoming stronger, thank you to all who attended our final Social of the 2016-2017 school year. We were thoroughly impressed by the turnout we had; it was a lovely gathering!
Believing in every child,
Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira