I have found that my Montessori students are easily engaged with and interested in environmental concerns. Environmental studies easily incorporate into a Montessori curriculum; I try to incorporate environmental awareness into our studies all year, across all Montessori subject areas as much as possible. Some of the ways I do this are by reading stories and poems that stress an appreciation for the environment, incorporating nature into our art work in the Montessori classroom, and pointing out the interconnectedness of all things whenever possible. I may particularly stress environmental topics on certain days like Earth Day and World Environment Day.
World Environment Day will be celebrated on June 5, 2010. The United Nations Environment Programme aims for World Environment Day to be the largest and most widely celebrated day for environmental action. World Environment Day has been celebrated since 1972. 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations and this year the theme of World Environment Day is “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” Here are some great activity ideas to share with your Montessori classroom!
World Environment Day Activities for the Montessori Classroom
Suggested Activities for the Montessori Classroom
Montessori teachers can encourage classroom or group discussions to show students the importance of biodiversity and the importance of preservation efforts. Discuss with your Montessori elementary students the consequences of species extinction and harmful actions to the environments. Browse headlines together to discover what is happening in the world right now. Brainstorm ways to make a difference locally and globally.
For early childhood classrooms, Montessori teachers can encourage young students to talk about harmony among all living things on the planet, and about humans as having the gift of consciousness and intelligence to become stewards of the planet/environment. Language, science, cultural and art activities can be focused on this theme.
The recent Gulf Coast oil spill in provides a current and relatable event in which to explore the environment. Explore news articles and photos with your Montessori elementary students. Recreate an oil spill using a dish washing tub, sand or soil, water, oil, small animal toys, a toy boat, and other assorted toys. You can tint the water and oil with food coloring. After the spill, try to clean and remove the oil from your “world” and discuss how difficult it is to remove oil.
Create papier-mache globes. (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/globe/)
Use your Montessori math materials to explore some of the numbers behind biodiversity. There are 15 million species on our planet and we are only one of them. Very few species have numbers that are growing and humans are one of them. With your students, research the human population and do a representation with your Montessori math materials or other objects. 17, 291 species are endangered. How many are in their individual populations? How many species have gone extinct? Compare these numbers to your mathematical renderings of the human population.
This is a wonderful time to introduce or revisit your Montessori biome, landforms, biology, and zoology works.
Environment Books for the Montessori Classroom
- Everything Kids' Environment Book: Learn How You Can Help the Environment by Getting Involved at School, at Home, or at Play, by Sheri Amsel
- A Child's Introduction to the Environment: The Air, Earth, and Sea Around Us, Plus Experiments, Projects, and Activities YOU Can Do to Help Our Planet! by Michael Driscoll
- Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet, by Harriet Rohmer
- The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
- The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest, by Lynne Cherry
Other NAMC blogs
- Montessori Practical Life Activity for Earth Day
- World Water Day 2010, March 22: Montessori Classroom Opportunities
- Earth Day 2009: Celebrating Peace and Environmental Awareness in the Montessori Classroom
- Celebrating Earth Day in the Montessori Community
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, May 27, 2010.