"When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength" - Maria Montessori.
In her days, Montessori felt the need to share the importance of nature for the child's holistic growth. In the book The Discovery of the Child, Montessori stated that "at the present time, however, and in the circumstances of modern society, children live very far from nature and have few opportunities of coming into intimate contact with, or having any direct experience of, it".
Today this topic remains important and alive. More and more children are confined between home and school walls, and their exploration of nature is limited to small artificially prepared spaces where soft surfaces replace real soil and grass. Often children are taken to the park in their stroller, and then adults help them use this synthetic environment.
Montessori Below we will explore some of Montessori's quotations to understand how to support our children to experience nature:
Di seguito vediamo come utilizzare i consigli di Maria Montessori per supportare i nostri bambini a vivere la natura:
- "Let the children be free, encourage them". At least once a week, take your children to the wild nature and let them guide you for a few hours. Bring a basket to inspire them to collect small treasures such as uniquely shaped stones, sticks, berries or flowers; these natural resources can then be implemented in other activities. The more children are immersed in nature, the more they will create a deep bond with it.
- "Let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet". During the winter and autumn, you could use rain boots and waterproof clothing to protect children from possible colds while offering the freedom to jump and get dirty. Wheter in spring and summer, you could have a picnic basket and a tablecloth to enjoy free play in the open-air, offering a wonderful sensory experience. Often our fears can limit children's exploration. Observation and reflection can help us understand possible risks and useful strategies to support the child to explore the environment safely and freely.
- "Let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade". Support your children to touch a tree, patiently watch the leaves move and perhaps find out which animals find refuge in its branches. Look at the roots, share stories and tales. Let them climb by offering support and encouragement. Support your children to tell you about their feelings and let them transport you to a world of fantasy, knowledge and possibilities. Photographs, stories and drawings could create books with stories, tales to immortalize these discoveries and memories together forever.
- "Let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning". Support your children to learn about gratitude for nature, the beauty of a green meadow, the wonder of an enchanted forest, the importance of rain and the miracle of when it meets the sun forming a rainbow. We often limit ourselves and our children with suggestions such as "don't run, don't scream, don't jump, etc." and these adventures in nature could offer the opportunity to break all these rules in a safe and free space where together you can run, scream, jump, etc.
"We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are a part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things" Maria Montessori.