Dr. Maria Montessori famously maintained the outdoors were a “natural extension of the classroom” and believed children are naturally driven by curiosity. Allowing students to explore nature gives them the opportunity to learn through experience. In our Outdoor Environment, students can explore their surroundings using their senses. There are many ways children can learn about the natural world, but hands-on experience at MMS is one of the best ways students can get involved with their environment.
At MMS, students learn to cultivate and nurture the community garden. Studies show that gardening benefits children not only physically but mentally. Students practice their motor skills by pulling weeds, digging and planting seeds. Mentally, gardening teaches children patience and responsibility by taking care of their plants. One aspect of the garden at MMS is the butterfly waystation. This section of the garden is filled with plants that attract monarch butterflies to provide students with an immersive look at wildlife. The up-close study of plants
and butterflies allows students to develop an understanding of the natural world.
Students are encouraged to walk around the school grounds and observe their natural surroundings. Nature
walks provide numerous benefits for children. Studies show walking outdoors helps enhance students’ gross
motor skills. Children walk around at their own pace and pay attention to their own interests, which promotes
independence. MMS is conveniently located along the Wolf River. Our campus also has access to wetlands
and a pond. These are all characteristics of the outdoors that kids have a natural curiosity to explore.
Students are made aware of large environmental issues and how they can play a part in maintaining the
environment. They are taught to reduce, reuse and recycle in order to care for Earth and learn about different
types of recyclable materials through in-class activities.
Another method students learn about the environment is by planting and potting seeds. This teaches
responsibility by maintaining the plants throughout the school year, while educating students about how to
protect their community and why it is important to be respectful and maintain the environment around them.
If you are interested in learning more about the Maria Montessori School and our Outdoor Environment, please