Nature helps to drive the forces of curiosity and exploration within a child, while offering rich sensorial experiences as well. This is why nature is a vital part of the Montessori learning method. A Montessori education focuses on a deep connection between child development and nature. Children in Montessori schools learn to appreciate the environment and enjoy all that is has to offer.
What is the Montessori Philosophy?
The pioneer of the Montessori method is Dr. Maria Montessori. She believed that the outdoor environment was an extension of the indoor classroom, because nature provides endless opportunities for experiential learning. She wrote in The Absorbent Mind, “Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.”
The Montessori Philosophy emphasizes immersion in nature in order to assist in the development of the whole child. Spending time in nature promotes physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development in every child.
Montessori parents and guides can help children become young naturalists by allowing them to spend more time interacting with their outdoor environment. Forming a connection with nature early-on helps children become more environmentally responsible, and this viewpoint extends from childhood into adulthood.
Dr. Montessori made it a point to emphasize the interconnectedness of humanity and nature. “The land is where our roots are,” she wrote. “The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”
Cosmic education is the belief that children should understand that they are a part of a greater universe. By allowing them to spend time in nature, they are able to better understand this concept. “When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.”
Applying Cosmic Education at Home
As a Montessori parent, there are several ways that you can teach your child more about cosmic education at home. Here are some suggestions:
- Go on natures walks with your child in or around the woods or beach (depending on where you live)
- Take your child to a botanical garden or zoo
- Encourage your child to start a nature journal and take pictures of anything that catches their interest
By participating in activities such as these, your child will become more connected to their natural environment and begin to understand their role in the universe.