Sunday, 26 November 2017

Autumn ~ Exploring the Gifts of Nature

In our little corner of the world, we have been enjoying a prolonged autumn.  At this time of the year, it is not unusual for us to have lots of snow on the ground.  At our little yellow school ~ with two grassy playgrounds, towering pine trees, separate flower and vegetable gardens all set on half an acre of land ~ our students have had the opportunity to fully enjoy the gifts of nature that this gloriously mild autumn has brought.  Here are some of them.

Vegetable Harvest

Our autumn journey began with our vegetable harvest.  The children planted carrots, pumpkins and potatoes in the spring.  While the pumpkins were eaten by our animal friends, the carrots and potatoes did very well.

Examining the Parts of a Potato Plant

Digging Potatoes

Pulling a Carrot

The Harvest


We learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin in our back garden and in our classrooms.  We also discovered the parts of a pumpkin.

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin Book

The Parts of a Pumpkin

Using our senses to explore a pumpkin.

What does a pumpkin smell like?

The children are feeling the inside of a pumpkin.
The Parts of a Pumpkin

Our pumpkins are now in our back garden.  We are watching them decompose.  They will add nutrients to the soil in our vegetable garden.

Our Decomposing Pumpkins

Deciduous and Coniferous (Evergreen) Trees

We are learning about the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees.  Our maple trees are deciduous trees, while our towering pines are coniferous (evergreen) trees.

Decorating with the Leaves

Our Towering Pines (Coniferous Trees)

Our Animal Friends

Our animal friends are preparing for the winter.  The little squirrels are knocking down pine cones from our coniferous pine trees and storing them for the winter. 

The squirrels are busy collecting pine cones.

Once all the leaves had fallen off one of our maples, we noticed something on one of the branches.

What is that?

It's an apple!

The Pileated Woodpecker Returns

On our walk up to our second playground, we noticed something at the base of one of our pine trees.  They were wood chips.  

Wood Chips

Wood Chips

 We looked way up and we saw some fresh holes in our tree.

Can you see the fresh holes?

That can only mean one thing.  Our pileated woodpecker is back!  Although we haven't seen him yet, the fresh holes tell us that it won't be long until we do.  Every three to four years, a pileated woodpecker has taken up residence on our property.  The last time we saw him was January 2014 so we are due for another visit.  Here are some photos from that time.
January 2014
January 2014

January 2014 - Watching the Woodpecker

Our open outdoor classroom also encourages gross motor skills, observation, and sorting activities.  The natural environment enables us to flutter with the butterflies, watch an earthworm crawl, hop with the frogs, collect twigs, pebbles and pine cones all the while listening to the sounds of the birds.  We are never happier than when we are basking in the glow of nature's wonders.

Why is an outdoor environment so important in Montessori education?  Since the beginning of her work over one hundred years ago, a basic tenet of Montessori's psychology and curriculum for children is the universal need for attachment to nature and the subsequent personality integration that evolves from outdoor activity.  Dr. Montessori believed that Montessori education is not just what happens inside.  She placed a heavy emphasis on nature and the outdoor environment.  The outdoor environment should be an extension of the indoor environment providing children with real experiences in nature.  Our little yellow school could not provide a complete Montessori education without our natural and expansive outdoor environment. It is invaluable.

The land is where our roots are.  The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.

~ Maria Montessori  

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