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Learning from Nature: Amongst Living Things

This post is by regular contributor Kate Gribble of An Everyday Story.

How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way was one of the first parenting books I read which really resonated with me. It made me see differently, more clearly, and was my first introduction to the Montessori Method.

The book encourages you to see the world from the child’s view, introducing you to the child-sized, beautiful environments Montessori is renowned for the world over.

Montessori is more than the ‘prepared environment’ though. It talks about bringing the child to the world and the world to the child. Being in nature, experiencing its beauty, taking time to observe and remembering always to follow the child; follow their interests and their pace.

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”~ Maria Montessori

Spending time in nature - An Everyday Story for Childhood 101Learning from nature An Everyday Story for Childhood 101

A mossy rock, the busyness of an ant nest, the glittery trail of a snail, it’s out in nature that we can truly experience the intricacies of this world around us. And it’s not just the natural world; the buzz of a subway station, the sound of the train as it approaches, the smell, the behaviour of people, all learnt in a single moment. First hand. Naturally.

We try to have our children, Jack (4yrs) and Sarah (2yrs) spend time outdoors everyday. Whether it’s a walk in the bush, a play by the creek, a stroll along the lake, geocaching or just in the yard. This time spent outdoors is invaluable to their development. They are not only learning about the many wonders in our local area, they are also developing a connection with and sense of stewardship towards our environment.

Learning first hand from nature - An Everyday Story for Childhood 101

Jack and Sarah love this time too, out in the fresh air, there is always something new and interesting to discover. They ask questions, collect treasures, take photos, draw pictures and just take time to ponder.

So head outside and get amongst the living things. You don’t need to plan any activities, just allow the time to watch and wonder.

How do you spend time in nature?

 

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Comments

  1. Great post, Kate! I continue to love your work more and more each day! So inspired!

  2. My kids are 19mths, 3 and 5yrs. We love going on bush walks, the youngest in a hiking carrier on one of our backs.

    We are so blessed in this country with so many gorgeous bush walking trails. So many of them are well signposted with their distance and their level of ease. When the kids are young you can start off with the easier ones and progress as they get older. With Australia’s beautiful bushland and waterfalls we all love it – there is so much to discover and seeing it all through our children’s fresh eyes makes it so much more fun.

    • We are so fortunate, aren’t we? Not far from here we have Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. It is an amazing place with beautiful wetlands, eucalyptus forests, bird sanctuaries and so much native wildlife just right there in front of you. It’s one of our favourite places to visit. I took these photos for this post on one of our trips there. This was in the koala walk, we were searching for koalas way up in the trees. :)

  3. We’re so blessed to have the bush as our backyard! Miss Daisy loves her time outdoors and little sister is absolutely enthralled by everything in nature too. It’s the perfect cure for a whingy afternoon. Head outside, into the bush or even just the veggie patch… shifting dirt around and picking some leaves for dinner is healing for the soul! :)

  4. I wish we had better weather lately to spend more time outdoors. It’s our favorite thing to do during the day, but my little is only 10 months so I like it to be on the warmer side. I can hardly wait for summer to do more exploring — and once she starts walking, even better!

    I love that your kiddos have those tree branch pencils for outdoor scribbling.

    • They are sweet little pencils, aren’t they?

      Once your little one starts walking she will be off! As soon as Sarah could walk she could practically run! She didn’t want mama to carry her anymore :) She wanted to explore this new found freedom straight away. It was so wonderful to watch.

  5. My boys are 6 and 2 and have the benefit of growing up on a farm. Naturally, they get to spend a lot of time outdoors but I love the idea of seeing the outdoor world through their eyes.

    • My husband grew up on a farm and has such fond childhood memories of time spent outside with the animals or playing in the dam. I would love this for our children too, but it wasn’t to be. How wonderful for your boys :) We do have a lot of beautiful native forest to explore around here though. I do love the idea of tending to animals and land though… how truly wonderful.

  6. How wonderful to live in an area like that. I raised my kids in NY (more of the suburbs than city but nothing like country) and our patch of grass outdoors was wonderful but, didn’t extend too far. By the way you can add the Bank Street method to Reggio and Montessori as they are very close in theory. (and its my alma mater)

    • I’ll have to have a look at the Bank Street method, I’ve not heard of it. Are there any blogs you would recommend?

      Sometimes it is hard to believe that we live in our nation’s capital; Canberra really is a bush capital. We are so fortunate to be able to live somewhere which has all the perks of a city as well as having the bush right there too. It really is a beautiful part of the world :)

  7. Bank Street is a graduate school and an elementary school. it is the top school in graduate education and they have a school from ages 3 till grade 8 as well. it’s sort of like a lab. learn education in graduate school and actually see it played out in the classrooms downstairs. their approach is social studies based. they start with social studies and everything takes off from there. they incorporate a lot of Reggio stuff but Im pretty sure that Montessori is a bit too structured for them. It’s not as branded as Montessori or Reggio but is an amazing dissemination of cutting edge Progressive education.

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