Nature, Children, and Montessori
“Solicitous care for living things affords satisfaction to one of the most lively instincts of the child’s mind. Nothing is better calculated than this to awaken an attitude of foresight.”
Now that spring has sprung and life is blooming all around us; my children’s respect for Mother Nature and what she can teach us, is flourishing as well. Perhaps, some of the most beautiful of Maria Montessori’s fundamentals are the lessons learned from nature.
One such Montessori lesson is to follow at a natural pace. Nature cannot be rushed or held back. Our children can no more be hurried into lessons than an egg can be forced to hatch early. Nor could that egg be stopped from hatching once it has begun. Likewise, we should not attempt to hold kids back from learning, once they have shown interest in a certain task. The Montessori Method teaches our children the lessons they are ready to learn, when they are ready to learn them, by following the child’s nature.
Another Montessori sown seed of knowledge: nature inspires learning. Children are enthralled with nature. Take your children out for a walk or to the park. Make sure to let them set the speed. Allow children time to explore, to lose themselves in the fascination of watching a beetle open its shiny-hard shell to reveal delicate wings beneath…and then take flight.
The basic nature of the child is to be full of wonder and a need for self-discovery. Given the time and freedom to explore, children will naturally seek knowledge. A child who is unfocused and resistant to learning, is not getting these basic needs met.
Perhaps, the next time you are enjoying a walk with your kids, you might slow down a bit, turn off your mobile phone, and follow the lead of your youngsters. Let them find a newly sprouting plant and return often to follow its progress. Listen for the sound of hatchlings in a nest and watch as the parent birds come and go, busily feeding their brood.
You may find that you can lose yourself in wonder, right along with your kids. This is the beauty of being with both children and nature.