The Importance Of Nature Connection In Early Childhood

 

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One of the most important part of child development is introducing them to the natural world by helping them to connect and explore the beauty of it. Giving them enough time to walk barefooted in a fresh green grass, play and chase the adorable butterflies, touch those colorful flowers in the garden, sniff a piece of wood, smell a flower, feel the roughness of a rock or watch the bamboo tree sway. This activities will give them the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature and at the same time appeal to their developing senses.

As a first time mom and preschool teacher, I want them to discover the beauty of the world by showing places they can play, observe and explore. This moment is an opportunity for a child to understand the connectedness of the universe.

 

“Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.” Dr. Maria Montessori

 

This photos was taken from our family trip at San Francisco Botanical Garden. This garden is a perfect place to learn about nature such as plants, trees, flowers, pond, woods and plant nurseries.

IMG_6679The beautiful and huge lily pads at the pond.

“Since it has been … necessary to give so much to the child, let us give him a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions…. All things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. The idea helps the mind of the child to become focused, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied having found the universal centre of himself with all things.”– Dr. Maria Montessori

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Things To Buy At Daiso For Montessori Classroom

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You are definitely a real Montessorian if you love shopping cute stuff at Daiso. They have a wide selection of things that can be useful for practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, cultural and art. I’ve been a big fan of Japanese products ever since I was little.  Daiso have a vast selection of quality items from kitchen utensils, personal stuff to gardening. I love their wooden utensils, small wooden boxes and tray, miniature erasers, cleaning materials, baskets and many more. As I walk along the aisle of the shop, my brain was continuously making projects! Like “Ohhh that pepper shakers can be a smelling bottles”, “this  felt can be for cultural class”, and “this cute tray can be for sorting”. There’s a lot of ideas to collaborate to make a Montessori activities. You don’t need to spend a fortune specially for home school or small Montessori school.

Being a teacher and a mother, hunting for learning materials are my continuous goal that gives me that “thrill” of seeking something useful and valuable. I want to share to you my recent Daiso treasures. These are high quality items but inexpensive. You can incorporate these lovely finds in your Montessori classroom activities. It will save you a lot of money. Children love tiny objects and these are a perfect recommendation. Make extra precaution when you have toddlers in your class or at home. Majority of the items are for three years and older.

In this photo shows a couple of scooper, plastic balls with holes, pepper shaker, invisible tape, pencil sharpener and Japanese sound maker.

In this photo you can see three sets of felts with varying colors, soup spoon, wooden ladle, plastic storage and ziplock. All are $1.50 each. 

Note: The felt are of high quality material that you need to use a sharp scissor in able to get the sharp edge you want to create a nice project.

Wooden box for metal inset paper. 

Note: this might not be the same as the standard size but I’m going to create my version instead.

 

Four section wooden box for sorting activity.

 

Wooden hour glass-I use this for our “silence game”.

 

img_6449Trays- High quality sturdy tray with handles. The size is just right for tiny hands.

 

This miniature erasers are my ultimate find. It doesn’t look like an eraser due to the detail and craftsmanship of each piece. Also above is a pack of clear bags for my nomenclature and three-part cards.

I know that not all 50 states and countries have Daiso shop. Here’s a list of other go to places to score some materials for your classroom.

Alternatives if you don’t have Daiso in your area:

1. Dollar Tree or any Dollar Store– Offers wide arrays of products that can be useful for practical life, math, sensorial, language and arts & crafts.

2. Goodwill Shops or Thrift StoreYou can find items that are kept on original packaging as in unopened. Be patient you can always find one. Or  kitchen utensils for practical life-like small pouring containers, soup spoon, ladles, mini rolling-pin, small bowls, stainless steel pitcher, cutting board and other stuff you will need in your Montessori home or classroom.

3. Yard Sale or Garage Sale– Some residential areas held a weekly sale or once a month. This is a great place to go. Sometimes some residents just wanted to get rid of their old stuff so they will offer it for free. Take it! Anyway “one man ‘s trash is another men’s treasure.

4. Offer Up– This is an app for smart phone wherein you can buy or search for a particular item in your area. Make an offer then buy the item. You either pick it up or meet ups. I used this app when I was still pregnant. I’m looking for a particular Italian brand wooden changing table and luckily I found it here.

5. Michael’s- They always have the miniature objects like animals, fruits, vegetables, little house items, baskets, wooden trays, wooden miniatures and plants and more things necessary for your projects.

6. Amazon They offer a very wide selection of wooden toys and small items, miniature animals, kitchen utensils for children, apron, baskets, trays and many stuff. Name it and they definitely have it!

I hope you will find all the things you need for your Montessori environment from the shops mentioned above. On my next blog, I will show you the Montessori activities I created from these items bought from Daiso.

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The Animals At Oakland Zoo

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img_6362Female reticulated giraffe

In my last blog, I shared an article about toddler Montessori shelf with a variety of rainforest and farm animal collections. Today, I will be showing photos of our recent zoo visit. During the weekend (April 24, 2016 Sunday) we had a family visit at the Oakland Zoo. This is the first time that my little girl get to see a real wild animals. The zoo was just half hour drive from us.

Oakland Zoo is home to wild animals. It is nestled within the rolling hills of Knowland Park.Is one of the most visited and popular zoo in the Bay Area that is located at Alameda county. They have 660 native and exotic animals through the 45-acre land. The favorite go to places of the students and families during spring and summer. Oakland Zoo is also a leader in education and conservation, offering a variety of on-site and outreach programs. They offer a complete facility if you are planning for a school field trip, group visit, birthday party, zoo camp, family overnight, Zookids classes like Pre-K Program and many more activities.

 

Bamboo trees! The zoo had a ton of beautiful trees, plants and flowers all over the area. 

Introducing nature and or living things to your students or little ones are a great opportunity to give them understanding about nature. To recognize the interdependence of all living things thus helping them to develop consciousness of their place on earth.

Chimpanzee

Malayan Wreathed Hornbill

I consider this as a part of a prepared environment in Montessori learning. Early explorations enable them to classify different animals, habitat and species.

Giant statue of a snake laying eggs

 

Giant frog statue at the children’s park

 

African Elephant

 

Reticulated Giraffe (male and female)

 

Sleeping Tigers

 

Lesser Flamengo

 

Aldabra Tortoise

 

 

Alligator

 

This river otter just took his break from playing. 

 

She had fun petting the goat.

 

 

Beautiful photos of trees, flowers and plants to include to my Botany units. 

 

Sleeping fruit bats

 

This gibbon showing off his moves.

 

A relaxing view of the walkway going to reptiles area. 

 

The cast of the “super croc” unearthed by paleontologist Paul Sereno in 2000. This is a ten-ton giant crocodile like a size of a school bus! 

Super Croc tail cast

Aside from animals, the zoo had attractions too; like trolley that will let you see all the animals while taking a ride, carousel, small kid rides and souvenir shops. For more information visit the website: http://www.oaklandzoo.org

It was an exciting new experience for our little one! She’s really tired and sleepy on our way back home but I could see in her eyes the pure happiness of a child being connected to nature.

I hope you also got the chance to visit your favorite zoo with your kids. Follow my blog to get ideas, tips, guide, insights and more about Montessori way of learning.

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You may also like to read my previous post:https://littlemontessorihouse.net/2016/04/21/toddler-montessori-shelf/

Toddler Montessori Shelf

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My little one is now growing fast like a sprout. I’m in the process of creating her prepared environment as early as possible. Her baby shower gifts, baptismal gifts and first birthday gifts are gathered together and the result was simply awesome!

 

As you can see, mostly these are animal puzzles, jungle animals and farm animals. On top of the shelf, I created a mini ocean discovery bowl and an ocean bottle discovery. Her curiosity with different objects are now developing and I’m taking advantage of that opportunity to introduce her to nature as well.


I can also add board books about animals and ocean to these shelf or sensory bin too. Being a first time mom, It’s truly overwhelming. All that tons of beautiful ideas and preparation are overflowing into my mind. Spring and summer are my favorite seasons of the year. There are more activities like going to the beach, exploring museums, family outing, water parks, adventure parks and many more fun activities. It is also the best time to introduce Montessori cultural and physical sciences like botany and zoology. Taking advantage of that bright sunny days and warm summer nights can be a memorable moment for the family.

Im gonna share on my next blog is all about Physical Life and Sciences. This thematic unit was always a hit to children. Follow me on my next blog! Share this to your friends and family.

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Treasure Basket Or Discovery Basket For Toddler 

 

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I wanna share my discovery basket that I gathered today to include to my little daughter’s Montessori shelves. This is made of different colors, shapes, textured objects. The brush was embedded with the other stuff so not quite visible but I can see it. Here it goes, a simple “toddler discovery basket” or “treasure basket”. I chose to put a simple objects only. I can always add more items at a time. Babies and toddlers loves to explore with all their senses that more often they will also taste the object and put it in their mouth.

Here is another photo of a simple treasure box. This is mostly made from natural items like wood, sea shells, dried bark, dried seed and I included a fabric flower too! The one on top had more objects on it with a combination of items made with non natural material. You can put whatever objects you like as long as the child could explore on it using her senses. Resources around you can be vast. It can be purely from the nature or garden, a selection of toys, different fabric, large beads, cotton, bottles, pine cone, wooden brushes.
Hape – Pallina Bamboo Tumbling Ball Game

Discovery basket or Treasure basket- Are a collection of objects that we can easily find around the house or garden. This is given to a child when they are ready to sit. The purpose of Treasure Basket is to give the child the opportunity t0 explore and discover the objects using their five senses; sense of sight, touch, taste, hear and smell.

You can always change the theme or add more objects to your treasure basket to make it more appealing to your child’s eyes. Your baby’s senses are also improving while she’s growing so it’s very important to give her objects appropriate to her age. If she’s turning two or toddler stage you can add variety of objects like wooden spoon and forks,wooden blocks, little kitchen stuff, jumbo colored pom pom, tube cylinder with water or objects inside (make sure that it’s close tightly), maracas and many more items right for the child’s age.

I will be showing more themed treasure box on my future blogs. Follow my blog to get more ideas and insights about Montessori method of learning. Please share this post to your friends. Sharing is Caring!

May 2, 2016 -Update to my Discovery Basket

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Discovery basket with more objects
This is an update to my discovery basket I posted a week ago. I added more objects on it like small stuff sensory animals, wooden hour glass, wooden cubes and change the basket into a bigger one.

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