Mother Nature is a wonderful teacher, and Dr. Maria Montessori agreed. She believed that the natural world was an extension of the indoor learning environment and that interactions with nature were crucial for any child’s emotional and mental development.
“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth,” she wrote.
Taking care of the natural environment through gardening is considered a Practical Life Activity in Montessori. It’s a fantastic way for children to bond with the natural world, develop empathy and learn about the living organisms that also call Earth home.
From sowing seeds to taking care of plants, gardening can help your child develop a range of skills essential for their development. Not to mention it’s downright fun!
How Does Gardening Help A Child’s Development?
The benefits of gardening are endless. Children can learn a variety of valuable lessons that will enhance their lives, both physically and emotionally.
- Fine Motor Skills: Gardening requires coordination and balance between hands and feet. Digging with their hands and holding gardening tools such as a rake are some of the fun ways kids improve their fine motor skills through gardening.
- Language Skills: Everyday experiences are one of the best ways to develop your child’s language skills. Gardening offers an opportunity for them to expand their vocabulary by naming plants and using descriptive gardening language.
- Gross Motor Skills: Kneeling in the garden, hunting for carrots in the ground, squatting and standing are just a few ways your kids will improve their gross motor skills.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Gardening allows children to refine their problem-solving skills. They’ll need to figure out how much water a plant needs, which plants need to be pruned and how to map out a garden. These are just a few of the ways they’ll improve this skill.
- Sensory Development: Children will have the chance to experience different textures, smells, colours and sounds. This will help them develop their senses.
Gardening offers children a better understanding of the natural world around them, helping to improve concentration and health. As a bonus, it also boosts overall happiness!
Here are other benefits gardening can provide your kids:
Boosts Self-Esteem and Sense of Responsibility
There’s something profound about nurturing something from seed to fully grown plant, and your child will appreciate the beauty of this experience. Gardening helps them develop a sense of responsibility as they are held accountable for the plants in the garden. It allows them to develop a sense of pride in their work and helps them to learn how to problem solve. This sense of responsibility can also be applied to other parts of life, such as teaching them how to take care of themselves.
They Learn About Science and The Environment
Montessori’s approach to gardening provides kids with a hands-on approach to learning about science and the environment. They’ll learn about how sunlight affects plants, different soils and the role it plays, the effects of weather on plants, and so much more! Above all else, gardening is a fun way to learn and retain information.
Promotes Patience and Perseverance
Patience is a learned skill, and gardening is a great way to teach children that “good things come to those who wait.” While it won’t be easy for your kids to wait for their plants to grow, they’ll certainly enjoy watching the progress from week to week. Along with patience, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to develop a strong work ethic, as gardening takes consistent work to achieve the results you want.
Encourages A Love of Nature
Gardening is a beautiful way to connect with nature and foster a deep appreciation for the outdoors. As children interact with the magic of the natural world and marvel at their hard work, they’ll learn to love and respect Mother Nature.
Gardening can be anything from raking the autumn leaves to growing veggies in your garden. Here are a few fun garden activities you can do with your kids:
Grow Plants With Their Names:
Simply grab a small planter and easy-to-grow plants with the same name as your child, such as basil or daisies and start growing. This can also be a great way for you to teach them about being kind to themselves.
Grow a Vegetable Garden:
Vegetables such as tomatoes and broccoli are easy to grow and can be a fantastic way to cultivate a love of eating veggies.
Composting may be a smelly affair, but it’s a great garden activity to do with your child. It emphasises the importance of sustainability and teaches them about living organisms such as insects.
From having fun in the garden with your kids to teaching them about nature, gardening has numerous benefits. The Montessori approach to learning incorporates garden activities into the Montessori Practical Life Curriculum, ensuring children are reaping all these benefits and more.
There are many wonderful lessons to learn, so roll up your sleeves and grab your gardening tools!