There is an issue that has been christened nature deficit disorder’, a belief that kids today are too concerned with completing video games, watching videos on YouTube or chatting with friends on social media that there is a fear of the affection towards the world outside is being lost. To combat this, institutions, teachers and parents are striving to develop methods that encourage association between nature and learning.
The Montessori Principles are an example of methods that have been developed to make children more at one with the world around them. Furthermore, it is the outdoor environment approach to learning that is key within these principles that can help children get the most from their education in ways that are not seen, or even possible, in traditional learning environments.
The Montessori Principles
The Principles focus on Active Learning, Flexible Curriculum, an Individual Approach, Accounting for Accountability and Confidence. Different from traditionally structured education, these pillars strive to give children the freedom over their lessons that is not seen in more formal schooling.
When it comes to the perfect outdoor environment, these principles are essential in giving the child the most effective results during their time at school. By applying the approach to what the child experiences with modern playgrounds, they can benefit hugely in terms of personal and social development.
These Principles in Schools
In schools, these Montessori Principles are applied for both kindergarten and elementary ages to help them unlock their creativity by undertaking a different approach to education. Encouraging children to carve their own educational path through the Montessori Principles gives them the opportunity to grow in ways that would not be possible in other environments.
The Montessori Principles can be applied through outdoor learning environments that help the child learn as effectively and naturally as possible. At this age, it is more important than ever to develop excellent, respectful habits that can help throughout their entire lives.
Active Learning – By engaging with the world around them, the child learns better than merely being dictated to. Instead of passively being fed information, the child instead has the opportunity to experience first hand smells, textures, sounds and other elements that contribute to learning.
Flexible Curriculum – Too many children are rushed through school. The flexibility of the Montessori Principles gives the child the chance to take as long or little as they need. This freedom helps alleviate stress and anxiety regarding lessons and learning.
Individual Approach – This tailored education helps to accommodate their needs and focus on areas for improvement or outstanding ability as well as work with others of similar ability no matter of age.
Accounting for Accountability – Learning about responsibility for nature and the planet develops a sense of accountability and having such knowledge early will help to develop a positive and respectful attitude in later life.
Confidence – Being in the outside world and taking risks, conversing with peers and opening up to different experiences is perfect for filling the child with confidence that might be lacking at an early age.
Modern Playgrounds and The Montessori Principles
The modern playground is something that fits perfectly alongside the Montessori Principles and can help children experience what is required to create the perfect outdoor environment. It provides them with the opportunity to play with friends or by themselves as they explore and discover aspects about the world. The modern playground gives the child the opportunity to touch, smell and feel the world around them in their own independent way, learning through experiences.
Due to the natural environment of modern playgrounds, children can experience the principles by learning outside, instead of being confined to a classroom. This freedom allows for greater development in both body and mind as they get more sun (vitamin D), more fresh air and exercise.
There is a degree of trust placed in students who use the modern playground, something that is also prevalent through Montessori teaching. The responsibility given to these children is vital in developing skills that are highly useful later in life.
Why Is This Good?
Simply put, it is good because the modern playground allows for the Montessori Principles to be adhered to all throughout the child’s playtime. No matter what the child might want to engage in whether it is running, swinging or climbing the modern playground can provide the child with this through the sheer amount of possibilities found there.
Having this many options available doesn’t necessarily mean that the child won’t have to use imagination or not be creatively stimulated. Keeping the child constantly engaged allows for the brain to develop quickly. Furthermore, being outdoors allows for space to move. Instead of being cooped up inside dull and drab classrooms, children will have the opportunity to explore their surroundings. This can be associated with learning in context, as it enables the students to touch, smell and see what is being taught as opposed to merely looking at pictures in a textbook.
They also get the chance to learn from their peers instead of just the teacher. This demonstrates an environment of equality that is missing from traditional environments, further improving their confidence and social skills.
The Great Outdoors
Perfect outdoor environments for children are crucial in developing an appreciation for the natural world. With the Montessori Principles combined with the modern playground, children have the chance to learn about responsibility, social interactions and nature itself all while having the time of their lives. There is so much to learn about the world, so setting them up early is the best idea you could have.
Photos are from Unsplash
Guest Author Bio
Charlotte is a long time food industry professional, and now a stay at home mom of two. She loves sharing natural recipes, gardening tips and creative foodie advice with the world.