What is Montessori & Why is it Useful?
We have an Award-Winning Range of Waterproof Clothing here at Wet Wednesdays. With forest school & outdoor learning becoming more popular, we want you to understand why Montessori is important to encourage outdoor play & learning.
What is Montessori?
Maria Montessori was one of the original advocates for nature-based play.
She developed The Montessori Method in the early 1900’s.
The Montessori Method encourages children to learn through natural activities, rather than in a standard classroom environment. She found that children who were left to explore their environment freely developed optimally.
What are the 5 Principles of Montessori Education?
1. Children are shown respect
2. Kids have absorbent minds
3. Sensitive periods are critical for learning
4. Kids learn best in a prepared environment
5. Kids can teach themselves through auto education.
Montessori & Outdoor Play
Montessori parenting is allowing your child to learn, explore & develop at their own pace. This allows them to gain confidence in themselves. A great way to start Montessori parenting is to learn outdoors.
“Montessori believed that children need a natural environment for their physical development and health. She advocated for children to move freely and play in the garden or climb trees and hills to support their physical development”
One of the main benefits of outdoor play & learning is a child’s physical development. They have plenty of room to jump, climb, roll, run and stretch outside. This is great for their gross motor development, there are also plenty of opportunities to develop their fine motor skills!
This could include the simplest task of picking a dandelion, or it could mean more structured activities:. Such as tracing letters in the sand, collecting pebbles, sorting leaf colours, or counting sticks for example. To apply Montessori and outdoor play into your child’s development, you need to ensure that you are prepared for the outdoor environment. This includes preparing the environment & dressing appropriately, some ideas for an unstructured outdoor activity could be:
- Tracing letters with sticks
- Stacking rocks or other natural objects
- Sand play with shovels and containers of varying sizes and shapes
- Water play with vessels and floating objects
- Finding items of similar textures or colour
Now that you have activities in place, you need to ensure your child is dressed appropriately so that the weather does not stop their learning.
For your little ones 1–3-year-olds we would recommend a puddle suit without any lining as this can keep them dry and protected from the wind but will also be breathable to stop them from overheating on the milder days.
For your 4–7-year-olds we would recommend a two-piece set, this could be a trouser or dungaree matched with a jacket, this is great as the set will grow with them and they will also be protected against the elements the same as a puddle suit would. Plus, on the milder days they can just wear the trousers or dungarees over a t-shirt, this is fantastic for dewy mornings where the grass is still wet, but the temperature is too warm for a full set.
In the Autumn/Winter, we would recommend similarly to what you would wear for the Spring/Summer except we would advise some fleece lining for the colder days! Or to layer up appropriately underneath! The best way to stop heat escaping is to ensure you layer on their head, hands, & feet (so a cosy hat, warm mittens or gloves and Bubble Boots)
We hope this information and our ideas help you & your little one use the outdoors for learning as they grow! When it comes to children and outdoor play, the sky really is the limit.