The garden is our teacher. It teaches us life and all earth’s systems. When you put a garden in, you create an ecosystem
— Ron Finley, guerilla gardener

Montessori in the Pines is a unique school in that we blend traditional Montessori education with farm school or ‘forest preschool’ models.  Montessori is carried through into the garden, where the principals of self-initiated learning and sensorial exploring are found.  Kids are walking laboratories: their fingers and arms are units of measurement.  Their eyes, ears, and tongues analyze the natural world around them… Children, when in the garden, can use language and practice early math and science in a meaningful context.  They can also take pride in the food they grow, and form an early foundation of healthy eating habits.  Lets look at more reasons why a nature-based Montessori is beneficial:

What do kids love about outdoor space?

Freedom: being able to explore, dig in mud, and catch bugs

Abundance: being able to pick and taste things

Independent space: a place to hide and be found

Sense of ownership: ‘this is our space, we created it’

Solitude/listening games

Touching and smelling

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Gardening:

Increases their self esteem

Allows for self-expression

Teaches key science concepts

Benefits their social interaction and behavior

Helps children form positive environmental attitudes

Brings together communities

Increases preference towards eating fruits and vegetables

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year round learning:

There are an abundance of projects we do, both indoor and outdoor, as seasons change throughout the year.  This is just a small sample:

Raking leaves, harvesting potatoes, using outdoor climbing wall

Building snow people, pulling each other on sleds, watching icicles melt

Baking bread, making lemonade, chopping carrots for our bunny

Art projects with found nature, making bird feeders, holding worms

Sprouting seeds, planting flowers, and collecting chicken eggs

Natural dying with lichen, fennel, and cabbage, and other fabric&textile arts

Science experiments with snow, rain, oyster mushrooms, and solar energy

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We must circle back and teach the next generation to form a covenant with the land and the farmer, to ensure the well-being of our children and our resources
— Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm