MORNINGS ARE SPENT IN A “NATURALIZED” OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT
In his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv, a child advocacy expert, links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation to some of our culture’s disturbing childhood trends, such as the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. In his latest bookThe Nature Principle, Louv states his belief that “The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
Maria Montessori would have been in full agreement with Richard Louv. Well over a hundred years ago she stated her belief that ”The gifts of nature are the most satisfying toys of the child.” Guided by this premise and belief, The Montessori Center staff has carefully developed the Summer Camp Program.
Adults typically sense nature as a background for what they are doing. Children experience nature not as a background for events, but rather as a stimulating experiential component of their activities – a sheer sensory experience. They judge a natural setting not by its aesthetics, but rather by how they can interact with the environment.
The Montessori Center outdoor environment is designed to facilitate a child’s connection to nature and to satisfy an inherent need for freedom, discovery and independence. During their time outside, children can explore and roam, tend the garden, discover insect life, create animal and insect habitats, and feed the creatures of nature who share their space.
THE FARM: LEARNING BY DOING
To further deepen a child’s relationship with nature, summer camp children, who are 4 years of age and older, will spend time each week at Prairie Winds Farms (younger children may be included if accompanied by a parent). Prairie Wind Farms provides a unique farm and wildlife habitat experience where children can connect with nature and the source of their food. Among the many things they will experience are gathering eggs, holding baby chicks, milking a goat, bird watching, gardening, picking vegetables, and exploring the wetlands and woods. Visit Prairie Winds Farm at www.prairiewindsnaturefarmn to learn more.
OUTDOOR EDUCATIONAL SPACE
Under the shade of a beautiful maple tree in our back yard the children also discover practical life activities set up to rake, scrub, sweep, clean, order and maintain their environment.
IN THE AFTERNOON AN ENHANCED NATURE CURRICULUM ENRICHES THE SUMMER INDOOR CLASSROOM
Because afternoons are often sweltering, summer camp moves inside during the heat of the day. The core Montessori curriculum is enhanced by a science area that literally comes alive with the miracle of life. The children live with:
• seeds germinating for the garden
• larvae transforming into lady bugs and butterflies
• eggs developing into silk worms and praying mantis
• tadpoles slowly growing into frogs
• ants busy at work in their colonies.
The afternoon is also an opportunity for the older children to reinforce their budding reading and math skills, while the younger children satisfy their need for order and real life activities in the Practical Life and Sensorial areas.
GROUP NON-COMPETITIVE GAMES, PICNIC LUNCHES, WEEKLY IN HOUSE FIELD TRIPS AND WEEKLY ART CLASSES, ALL ADD TO THE MONTESSORI CENTER'S CELEBRATION OF SUMMER.
“The gifts of nature are the most satisfying toys of the child.”
--Dr. Maria Montessori
We love summer at The Montessori Center, so it is with great pleasure that the staff carefully prepares a unique inside and outside environment that takes maximum advantage of the beauty and wonder of the summer season.