SERVING CHILDREN 6 WEEKS TO 6 YEARS OF AGE
The Outdoor Classrooms at Vista Montessori School has been a joyous experience for children and teachers. As the winter weather warms we begin to observe seasonal changes; even the youngest child notices birds returning and flowers beginning to bloom. The children begin planting seeds indoors in flats then seedlings are transplanted into small pots. After the children have prepared the garden soil and temperatures permit, the growing plants are finally planted outside. The children are involved in each activity, either individually or in groups.
The teachers integrate the Outdoor Classrooms' curriculum with art projects, such as seed mosaics, making clay nests with eggs, and glazing flower pots. Songs reinforce what plants need to grow, books tell stories about other people’s gardens.
Once the garden is planted the children’s outside activities change to watering, experimenting with sink/float, hammering nails into a stump, sawing, making garden signs, gluing wood, crushing egg shells, and other individual lessons. Group art activities are included in the Outdoor Classrooms during the summer program. These lessons continue in the fall with the addition of harvesting and serving vegetables to their friends.
The Outdoor Classrooms provide the children an opportunity to be outside during summer and warm days in spring and fall while learning some basics about food production and cycles of seasons and life. The lessons in the Outdoor Classrooms support each child’s refinement of movement, sensory development, social skills, and care of the environment. Observing the seeds grow and plants mature is the beginning of science. The lessons learned from their experiences in the Outdoor Classroom can lay the foundations for a lifetime of love of nature, gardening, art, and science.