“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”
– Maria Montessori
Fall is in full swing for us! We were recently inspired by this colorful season to add some beauty and Practical Life work to our outdoor prepared environment, for our preschooler and her one-year-old brother, in the form of container gardening. We already have an organic windowsill herb garden in our kitchen and we were looking to expand this type of care of the environment to the beauty of the outdoors. Using a few containers we had saved and an old watering can, along with some soil, a rake, and a trowel, we were able to create a small container garden of pansies, ferns, and ornamental grasses.
First, we acquired our soil and flowers from our local garden center, as well as my daughter’s rake and trowel. Our particular garden store doesn’t offer specific child-size gardening tools, but my daughter grabbed some off the shelf that seemed a pretty good match for her size.
Next, we came home and gathered our materials in the backyard to assemble our container garden. My husband initiated the scooping out of the soil into the containers, using the trowel, and our daughter quickly took over, filling them the rest of the way.
Afterwards, she flattened out and compacted the soil using her rake.
She then passed my husband each small container of plants one by one and they worked together to transfer to, and arrange in, the large containers.
Once the flowers were spaced and arranged according to her preference, her and my husband added more soil between each plant and gently patted it down.
Finally, she filled up her watering can and watered the containers, while my husband rotated them to ensure sufficient distribution. Our daughter is very interested in moving heavy objects right now, so she enjoys using our larger watering can. If she loses interest in it, we’ll probably look into getting a smaller one, made specifically for toddlers. As for now, it seems like she is really enjoying her newfound gardening work.
We are just getting started in creating an outdoor prepared environment for our children to enjoy on a daily basis. We do spend a lot of time outdoors and, living in a rural community, we take advantage of the ability to roam, enjoying some pretty scenic views and outdoor activities. We have not set aside any time, until now, for designing and creating a Montessori prepared environment for our children outside, and are starting with a pretty blank slate: a couple chairs, a small table, a bird feeder, and a bamboo wind chime. Our daughter has a lot of interests that I am using as inspiration for this project, and I’m excited to see this space develop and change over time in accordance with those interests.
If you’re looking to create a Montessori prepared environment outdoors for your children, or if you’d like to learn more about Montessori outdoor activities for your kids, ages 5 and under, Pots and Pansies is an excellent way to accomplish those goals. It has been a very insightful guide for our family as we approach the task of planning our own outdoor space, and it looks like the next session will be starting up just in time for Spring!
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