By its very nature, the Montessori environment is beautiful. The use of natural objects and light add peace, harmony, and balance. They also enhance the awareness of the natural world. The Montessori teacher helps extend this awareness far beyond the immediate environment to the entire universe. She presents the universe to the children as a whole concept, from the beginning of time to the present. And the children come to understand how the universe, and more specifically the earth, is ever changing.
Today, with the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, it becomes a vital piece of Montessori’s cosmic vision that we take responsibility for our impact on the earth and attempt to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.
Bringing awareness to the Montessori environment about carbon footprints
There are many ways you can bring awareness of natural resources into your Montessori environment and community.
- Make use of natural light and turn off lights when they aren’t needed. It was a very rare, cloudy day when the lights were on in my Montessori environment.
- Only heat and cool rooms during school hours.
- Check for window and door drafts and leaky faucets. Fixing drafts and leaks are wonderful practical life activities!
- Turn off and unplug appliances, including computers, monitors, printers, and photocopiers, when not in use.
You can also involve your upper elementary classroom in weekly readings of your electricity meter. This activity incorporates real-world (practical life) learning, math, and problem solving. Invite the students to:
- 1. decide on a specific day and time to read the meter each week.
- 2. record and graph the results.
- 3. after a few weeks, hold a community meeting to discuss how much electricity is being used as well as ways to reduce class use.
- 4. continue reading the meter and reporting back on the effects of their energy reduction.
Older children might also like to calculate their carbon footprint using the World Wildlife Fund’s Footprint Calculator.
Saving the planet is a community effort. When we teach children how they can help by making simple lifestyle changes, we bring real-world focus and practice to truly embodying Dr. Montessori’s idea of cosmic education.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, September 1, 2015.