Connecting with Nature: Helping Children Reveal Their Inner Strength

By Heather White

Maria Montessori once said, “When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.

Nature provides us with an abundance of rich sensorial experiences that are crucial for a child’s development. Their vision develops when they watch leaves sway in the breeze. Their hearing is stimulated when they hear birds chirping. A fragrant spring flower awakens their sense of smell. These immersive experiences awaken the child’s senses and call them to explore, creating a sense of awe and wonder that will be meaningful throughout their lives. 

Dr. Maria Montessori believed so much in the power of connection with nature that she considered the outdoors an extension of the indoor learning environment. She believed nature enriches the life of each child by supporting their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. 

By increasing your child’s interactions with the natural world, you’re not only supporting their growth and development, you’re encouraging them to lead an environmentally responsible lifestyle throughout childhood and into adulthood, as well. Dr. Montessori reminds us of the importance of developing this type of global citizenship, stating, “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”

Explore the fundamentals of Montessori parenting with this free video by Sylvia Arotin, offering insights and strategies to empower and educate your child.

As Montessori parents and caregivers, you can foster your child’s connection to the natural world in so many ways. Here are just a few:

  • Collect leaves, rocks, shells, acorns or pine cones (you could also then sort and arrange them by size, color, or shape)
  • Sit quietly for a moment and listen, then try to name the sounds you hear 
  • Roll down a hill 
  • Climb a tree 
  • Go for a nature walk 
  • Plant a garden 
  • Water and tend to plants 
  • Build a bird feeder, fill it with seeds, and watch and listen to the birds 
  • Build sand castles or mud cakes
  • Splash in a puddle
  • Smell crushed leaves 
  • Watch cloud formations 
  • Fly a kite in the breeze 
  • Visit the nearest botanical garden or zoo

Remember that children are developing their senses, motor skills, and more through their interaction with the natural world. Get outside even if the weather is less than perfect. Help your children see that there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. Dance in the rain. Play in the snow. For, as Maria Montessori urged, “There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony, and the beauty in nature.”

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