One of my favorite areas in the Montessori method is the presentation of Botany lessons to my class. It is my utmost desire to present a unit of study with passion and detail. I love nature so much and to show this, I prepare and collect nature objects whatever the kind or wherever I could find it I will surely pick it and bring it home.
One time, while doing my grocery shopping at Costco, I found a beautiful pine cone under a tree. It looks perfect, for me it shines with beauty. I clean it at home and carefully arrange together with my other findings.
What is Nature Table?
The Nature Table is a special table, tray or place in the classroom. This is where we introduce an item of special interest to the children. The presentations or discussions are usually done in a small group.
Ways and How to use the Nature Table
- A low table or a tray that can be place low for observation and then placed up on a shelf for storage.
- Each time we use the table, we clear off the previous material and get the same table ready for the next presentation.
- A nice “scene” featuring the item of “focus”.
- A cloth or background that gives the item a context.
- An observation “tool” like magnifying glass.
- A card and pencil to record what you see.
Topics for the Nature Table
- Introducing fish, frog, reptile, bird or mammal
- Introducing plant, root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit or seeds.
- Land form, landmark, or place you are studying.
- A holiday celebration (Diwali)
Tips for the Nature Table
- Make it child centered
- Simple and clear concepts
Importance of Botany in a Classroom
A Montessori classroom should be rich in botanical specimens. But with the introduction of plants into classroom comes the Practical Life care of those plants. The cosmic notion of the interrelationship of all living organisms demands that top priority be given horticulture or the care of plants.
- A Montessori classroom void of plants reflects that degree of non-participation in the process of life.
- A Montessori classroom with plants which are cared by the adult reflects the isolation of the child from the nurturing process of life.
- A Montessori classroom with plants cared for by the children represents the quintessence of the cosmic vision in the Montessori classroom.
- The child in harmony with nature and as a helper to nature.