Sunday, 20 July 2014

Make a Montessori Nature Corner

I was completely sold on the Montessori method as a working mom because of one of its main beliefs: a prepared environment.  If you haven't been inside a Montessori classroom yet, visit one!  You'll see for yourself how the children use their orderly surroundings to learn work, independence, kindness and respect.

I steal a lot of Montessori ideas to make my home more child-friendly.  Leaving behind a thoughtful environment for my little girl has been a huge priority for me as a working mom who has to have peace of mind while at work.  Here's the easiest way to make a Montessori-inspired space at home:

So it's basically indoor plants in a corner of her room.  But it's a good reminder of nature in the concrete jungle of Manila (and our house).  I also use it to model a respect for plants and for her to start learning responsibility in caring for them herself.  I keep all these out in the open:

You can read more about how we use the nature collection box here.

I allow her to take care of this spot all by herself.  Which, for the past year, meant this:
Miura plants from the mall never lasted
And most of these are no longer living.
(Luckily the set of plants you see on the topmost photo have been thriving for months.)

Expect a lot of experimentation even at the expense of some plants.   Part of her responsibilities are removing yellowing leaves, and she tends to get overzealous (and once killed a poor money tree that way -- I came home to a plant with leaves scotch-taped on!).  

Having a nature corner as a reminder inside does spark some more nature play:
An experiment learning how plants grow from seeds
Using the story of Planty from My Milk Toof to feel sorry for plants if they are neglected
At some point, we took care of turtles in this corner for a month, before I gave them to my team at the office for a marketing insight project.

I also encourage her to take care of the plants at home with the same activities in her Montessori school.  This one is polishing the leaves to help the pores take in oxygen.  The leaves really do get dusty:

Dip a cotton ball in some water and go to work

Not only does this encourage respect and responsibility for nature but I love it more for the fine motor skills she gets to practice:

Making a nature corner is super easy to do, and it's one of my favourite spots in her room.   If you'd like to see a gallery of other play spaces we have, click on "galleries" on the upper right page or head on over here.  

As for my own green thumb, that's another post coming.  No judgement please.  I'm also still a work-in-progress!

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  1. This is great! I can't wait to set up a nature station in our new home and I'll be referring to this post as inspiration! We sadly won't be living there for a few more months, after some remodeling, but I can't wait for all of the Montessori spaces I'll be creating :)

    1. Ooh I love looking at Montessori spaces at home too! Will be following yours along!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Rachel! Absolutely love your blog - thanks for all the Montessori inspiration.


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