A child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal material upon which he can work. ~ Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
Learning about the Seasons
Another way to promote an understanding of the passage of time is to learn about the seasons and how they change throughout the year. I live in an area of North America that has four distinct seasons, so the children in my class are very fortunate to be able to understand the unique changes to each season in a very experiential way.
In the spring we go outside to observe the buds on the trees and the bulbs sprouting up from the ground. We do planting activities in the Montessori preschool classroom and enrich our Nature Table with a variety of items to reinforce the current season. In the summer, we play outside, we water the garden, we run through the sprinkler and we even arrange a few beach days. In the fall, the children take great delight in raking the leaves and observing the leaves changing colors. We bring leaves in from outside to make collages and I show them how to do leaf rubbings. In the winter, we have the opportunity to explore ice and snow and the children love wearing their winter clothes to school to play in the snow with one another. They are able to use child-size snow shovels, they learn to make snowmen and they enjoy looking for icicles in the school yard.
Introducing History and Passage of Time in a Montessori Preschool: Learning About SeasonsInside our Montessori classroom we have a Nature Table, which we change regularly to reflect the current season. Students are encouraged to bring items from home and from outside to display, and there is never a shortage of things to explore! We also have a tree painted on our wall of just a trunk and the branches. The children love thinking of ways to decorate the tree to reflect the current season. Currently, the branches are bare, and there is snow (cotton) at the base of the trunk and several tissue paper snowflakes resting on the branches.
There is also a variety of activities on the shelves that reinforce the seasons in our Montessori classroom. It is amazing to see how simple activities have such an impact on the students’ understanding of the passage of time. A few of the activities that I have in our Culture area are:
- Continent folders (four folders that hold pictures reflecting the various seasons along with the labels for spring, summer, winter, and fall)
- Magnetic wooden dolls with corresponding outfits (one doll for each season)
- A layered season puzzle (each layer representing a different season)
- Weather cards that the students can match to the various season labels
NAMC Preschool/Kindergarten Culture & Science manual provides a rich curriculum for introducing the concept of time through integrated subject areas such as history and geography.