Updated: May 8, 2021
Earth Day marks a dedication to a movement focused on protecting our planet, promoting clean living, sustainable habitat, and environmental protection. This event first occurred in the United States of America in 1970 leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and went global in 1990. It is now celebrated by more than 1 billion people annually in over 193 countries. For more information on how you can take part in environmental friendly practices you can check out the link to the official Earth Day website https://www.earthday.org
Dr. Maria Montessori had deep respect for the world and our place within it. Her curriculum placed a great emphasis on nature, noting that the classroom should extend to the outdoor environment.
"The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth." - Dr. Maria Montessori
She also stated that
"There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest." - Dr. Maria Montessori
How can we can model and incorporate sustainability and clean living into our daily lives? There are several ways we can incorporate the child with environmentally conscious living such as a recycling station, composting, care of indoor plants, sequencing cards for children that include items like shutting off water etc.
Montessori and Earth Day
How do we create within the child a love for nature on Earth Day and continue to incorporate it throughout the year?
Discuss “renew, reuse, recycle”.
Teach children to be conscious and responsible of water use.
Create a garden that include edible food like fruit, vegetables, and herbs.
Plant a flower garden that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Follow the life cycle of butterflies and hatch out caterpillars.
Grow/plant a tree outside or indoors.
Create a sensory garden that engages sight, smell, taste, sounds and touch. For example mint has a unique shape and fragrance, Lamb’s Ear is a plant with fuzzy texture, and grasses and bamboo make noise with wind.
Visit a local public area (like the park or beach) and do a litter picking session.
Decorate reusable canvas/cloth bags for shopping.
Make a worm farm.
Use a clothes drying rack and clothes pins to dry clothes (this is a classic Montessori lesson)
Try utilizing 3 part recycling cards
Go to local Earth Day/ environment events (where safe and possible).
Take time to bathe in nature. Teach children to embrace nature with all their senses. Spend time just sitting in nature. Close eyes and use your senses to feel the wind, and hear the branches rustling and birds around you.
Make a bug hotel by collecting natural resources to encourage biodiversity and help insects during the winter months.
Use natural materials in artwork, small branches for brushes, press leaves and flowers etc.
Read books about the Earth, sustainability, recycling, composting, or endangered species.
There is a plenitude of amazing books for children these days to teach them about all aspects of nature, gardening, social issues humanity is facing associated with the environment and every else that you could think of. Books are a wonderful way to educate and involve your child in the world around them and Earth Day is great reason to go and buy one more for the shelves. Alternatively, check out your local library and see what they have to offer.
Other Earth Day Links to Check Out (List courtesy of The Montessori Notebook)
Montessori Everywhere’s The Earth Project - connecting Montessori families and schools to work on saving the planet. Registration is free and opens this Thursday 22 April.
AMI-USA is holding an Earth Day panel on Thursday 22 April. More details and to register here.
Join Montessori Everywhere’s Connect session with people from all over the world in dialogue about the Environment on Saturday 24 April
How to Save a Planet - Each podcast episode they look into different climate solutions with a positive outlook on what we actually can do.
Biggest Little Farm - this documentary is a beautiful way of what regenerating the Earth might look like.
“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction. “ - Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
Edited by Jude Saffron. Originally written by Caroline Baughman. Caroline is Wife and Mom of a toddler. She has a passion for Montessori that inspired a blog focused on Montessori principles and helping people. You can find out more by visiting https://linktr.ee/UpstateMontessori