Montessori Gardening

Key Takeaways:

  1. Studies have indicated that introducing gardening activities in the curriculum for children in their preschool years, can provide children with a plethora of benefits.
  2. Montessori Gardening is an important part of Montessori Education that falls into the category of “care for the environment” in Practical life activities. 
  3. Montessori gardens are a beautiful extension of the Montessori classroom environment that helps children progress, flourish, and achieve a sense of fulfillment as well as self-confidence. 
  4. Children gain an insight into what is being taught, and what is to be taught as well as comprehend and analyze the activities they are performing when performing Montessori Gardening activities. 
  5. Montessori Gardening promotes children to learn the names of different plants, seeds, and gardening equipment can help children expand their vocabulary.
  6. Growing their own plants in a garden can help them achieve a sense of purpose and gain a sense of responsibility.

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the outdoor environment is an extension of the indoor classroom environment. Montessori believed that interactions with nature are integral for their physical, cognitive, and mental development. 

The Montessori method of education integrates several practical life activities that promote the development of fine motor skills, gross motor skills and facilitate physical growth in children. 

Amongst these Practical Life Activities are activities that involve taking care of the surrounding environment. Gardening is often regarded as an activity that is well suited for older people. 

But, that is far from true. The Montessori method of education incorporates Montessori Gardening activities that provide children with an exciting and engaging learning experience that they will remember forever. 

If you are willing to expand your child’s horizons by incorporating gardening activities into their curriculum here is everything you should know about Gardening in Montessori. 

Gardening with children

Montessori Gardening is a unique part of Montessori Education that falls under the heading “care for the environment” in Practical life activities. 

These activities often include basic gardening activities like watering, sowing, or weeding.

Gardening can be deemed as a wonderful bonding activity for children to connect with the environment, nature, and living organisms that are cohabitating with us. 

Not only do the children get an opportunity to learn about the natural world through gardening but these activities also promote the development of several skills important for their growth. 

Be it digging with tiny shovels in the dirt, sowing seeds in a straight line, or watering plants in the garden each and every gardening activity acts as an opportunity for children to gain immense knowledge and the development of Fine Motor Skills as well as Gross Motor Skills

Montessori gardens are a beautiful extension to the Montessori classroom environment that helps children progress, flourish, and achieve a sense of fulfillment.

What is the Importance of Montessori Gardening?

Gardening activities and educational activities might seem to be two contrasting ideas, but Montessori has a fun way of combining them. 

Through gardening activities and garden play children have a unique opportunity to acquire a crucial set of skills, enjoy, as well as develop a sense of independence and self-confidence. 

With help of Montessori gardening, children achieve a sense of fulfillment when they notice the seeds they have sown bloom and grow. 

Here is why gardening is important for development in children:

1. Physical Development:

Gardening Activities in Montessori facilitate the development of locomotor skills and fine motor skills in children.

By carrying objects like gardening tools or water plants children have a great chance of developing their gross motor skills

While performing intricate tasks like weed or leaf-cutting and grasping tools with a pincer grip can help with the development of fine motor skills

2. Cognitive Development:

Cognitive development is related to intellectual and academic growth, calculating potential outcomes, as well as analyzing information. 

Activities related to gardening can facilitate cognitive development in children. With the help of open-ended questions, children can have an intimate insight into what is being taught, what is to be taught, and comprehend as well as analyze the activities they are performing. 

By asking questions related to the activities the child may be performing children can identify how much a child has progressed. 

3. Literary Development:

Literary skills can be developed by Montessori Gardening Activities. Learning the names of different plants, seeds, and gardening equipment can help children expand their vocabulary. 

Another insightful Montessori garden activity is making a map of the garden and keeping a track of all the plants that have been sown.

What are the benefits of Montessori Gardening?

Planting and gardening activities might seem to be an unconventional approach to education, but according to the Montessori Method, they definitely cultivate crucial values and skills in the child. 

Gardening is more than just growing new plants and sowing small seeds in the soil. To further understand the benefits of Montessori Gardening, here is a list of 8 benefits that gardening might serve. 

1. An explosion of stimuli

Gardening is a great opportunity for children to have sensory stimulation and sensory exploration. Planting and gardening activities can help with the stimulation of all five senses.

Here is how gardening activities and different plants can help with sensorial stimulation:

  • Sense of touch: Feeling plants like Sage, Snapdragon’s, Lamb’s Ears, and Houseleek can help children distinguish between different textures. 
  • Sense of smell: Lavenders, lemons, chocolate cosmos, and jasmine can enhance the child’s sense of smell. 
  • Sense of taste: Cherry tomatoes, chives, lemons, or strawberries can help children differentiate between a range of tastes.
  • Sense of sight: Sunflowers, spider flowers, and chameleon plants due to their vibrant colors and visual appeal can help stimulate the sense of sight.
  • Sense of Sound: wind blowing through the grass, bamboo, or sweet corn can enhance the sense of sound in children. 

2. Healthy eating habits

Fruits and veggies planted by the child’s own hands can help establish healthy eating habits. Even the pickiest of eaters might be intrigued to taste the foods they have grown in their garden. 

3. Development of fine motor skills

Gardening tasks like watering the plants, sowing seeds, sorting or organizing items, digging, and gathering weeds can help with the development of fine motor skills in children. 

4. Cultivating Discipline and Responsibility

Giving the child their own space where they can indulge in purposeful activities. Growing their own plants in a garden can help them achieve a sense of purpose and gain a sense of responsibility. 

5. Understanding Science

With the help of Montessori gardening, children can learn about basic scientific concepts like botany and chemistry.

Children can learn about the following topics:

  • Learn how sunlight and water affect the plant’s growth. 
  • Learn how weather can affect the growth of plants. 
  • Learn about different soils that may contribute to the growth of the plants.

6. Developing Math skills

You might be wondering how mathematical skills and gardening are related. Well, counting and measurements are an integral part of planting as well as the gardening process.

Gardening can help children with the concepts like:

  • The Appropriate distance between the seeds.
  • The Appropriate rows of seeds to be sown.
  • The appropriate amount of water every plant needs.
  • The appropriate sunlight plants require.

7. Development of self-confidence

Children get a sense of fulfillment and feel more confident when they indulge in gardening activities. Looking after the plants they have grown and seeing them grow can help boost their confidence. 

8. Family Time

Gardening and planting might be a great time for parents and children to put away their technological items, indulge in quality family time, and create meaningful memories. 

Guidelines for Montessori Gardening Activities?

Before performing any Montessori Gardening activities it is best to consider the following guidelines to effectively facilitate the activities. 

All the tools and equipment should be child-sized

The watering cans, child-sized wheelbarrow, or metal spades should be small enough to fit the child’s hands. 

Child-sized tools are easy for children to manipulate and maneuver hence the child will be working with better accuracy.

Make sure the child is using real tools and not toys

Real tools will help enhance the child’s gardening and learning experience. Using real tools manufactured with wood or metal will also validate the child’s work and will be less prone to breaking.

Allow the child to explore new possibilities while participating in activities

Children learn best when they indulge in hands-on play and the Montessori method of education provides children with this unique opportunity. 

You can optimize your child’s gardening experience when you allow them to explore new possibilities. 

Provide the child with freedom but within limits

While giving freedom to the child to explore the garden might sound great as a parent, educator, or caregiver it is best to set up limits to effectively instill values of discipline and responsibility. 

You can allow the child to explore different textures of soil but restrict the child from throwing it around or you can ask the child to hold a bug but respectfully ask the child not to hurt it.  

Set your child up for success

Lastly, set your child up for success by providing them with age-appropriate activities and child-sized equipment. 

Allow the child to be an active part of the gardening process and make sure to explain each and every step with clear vocabulary. 

Consider incorporating appropriate concepts of math and science like counting, measuring, and tables. 

Different Montessori Gardening Activities:

Once you are fully acquainted with the Montessori Gardening guidelines it is now time to commence Montessori Gardening Activities. 

Here is a list of activities that will keep your child excited and engaged throughout their learning process:

1. Make a Scarecrow

It is the best activity to perform with the child when you feel like the child is getting bored of performing normal gardening activities like pulling the weeds or watering plants.

Ask the child to prepare a scarecrow to protect their garden. 

2. Indoor Herb Garden

Who says gardening is an outdoor activity? Create an indoor herb garden with your child. Growing herbs in the comfort of one’s home is a great way of introducing the child to gardening. 

Herb plants are great for children as all they need is a sunny window to survive. 

3. Planting in Egg Cartons

Plants and egg cartons activities are a great way of introducing your child to gardening as well as sustainable living. 

All you need is egg cartons, paints, paintbrushes, alphabet stickers, a hot glue gun, and a canvas. 

Just paint the egg cartons with colors of your choice and create different plants or flowers of your choice. 

Once you have created the plant of your choice you can ask the child to identify different parts of the plant like the roots, stems, and leaves. 

Refer to: https://www.schooltimesnippets.com/2012/04/parts-of-plant-with-egg-cartons.html to further learn about this activity

4. Flower Activities

Help the child identify and comprehend different names of plants and flowers with the help of this activity. 

Parents can use Flower nomenclature cards and ask the child to match the cards with appropriate flowers. to further learn about this activity refer to: http://ourcountryroad.blogspot.com/search/label/Flowers

So, Why Incoporate Montessori Gardening Activities?

The idea of incorporating Gardening Activities in an educational curriculum can be quite bewildering and surreal for most individuals.

As unconventional as it may sound, the Montessori method of education integrates Gardening Activities in Montessori Practical Life Curriculum.

Several studies have noted that introducing gardening activities in the curriculum for children in their preschool years, can provide children with a plethora of benefits.

Montessori Gardening Activities enhance fine motor and gross motor skills in children along with providing them an opportunity to come closer to nature. Montessori Gardening Activities help children become confident, optimistic, and self-reliant.