“We have much to learn by studying nature and taking the time to tease out its secrets.”
Happy Earth Day! This year at Westmont we are enjoying some outdoor planting with the children, the observation of lady bug chrysalis, making bird feeders and hatching chicks!
Earth Day reminds us of the beauty of the cultural curriculum in the Montessori classroom which is a window into the universe at large. The same water that we use in our daily lives has been on our planet since its formation. It is the essence of life that has connected all living beings on this planet, as is the air and the soil. We invite children to develop an awareness of how their world came to be and cultivate an appreciation for all the things, big and small, which coexist in it. Learning about our natural resources (land/air/water; sink or float; parts of a plant; how to grow a plant), the seasons (seasons sorting cards), the elements on our planet (magnetic vs. non-magnetic), the flora and fauna (vertebrates vs. invertebrates; extinct vs. non-extinct), the vastness of our world (the solar system; the colored globe; the continent maps) as well as the concept of time (calendar; telling time) –these are all ways we help children to discover our natural world.
By exposing each child to the cultural area of the classroom—Geography, Science, Botany, Zoology, and History—we invite them to explore the universe at large, using their own curiosity and drive. We learn about different cultures and about how we have a shared world. Through this hands-on exploration, children are on a path to discovering the world around them.
Dr. Montessori believed that there is a purpose and an order to the universe—it is a “gift” to mankind to be treasured and protected. Each of us is responsible for protecting the environment upon which we depend for our existence. Our classrooms are a place where we foster this awareness in children. And thus, they create the beautiful possibilities of a more peaceful world.