Naturally, Nature Nurtures Us

Hello Friends,

What a glorious week of weather!  We hope you had plenty of opportunities to be outside, enjoying the perfect balance of bright sun, blue skies, and a little chill in the air. Being outside with your children allows nature to quietly work her magic with helping your child foster independence while also, unconsciously, deepening an awareness of our interconnectedness.

A cornerstone to Maria Montessori’s philosophy is how teachers (and adults in general) can get in the way of fostering independence. We (adults) are torn between helping our children become independent while also loving them so fiercely that we want to protect them whenever we see them struggling. Maria Montessori once said: “Educating young children is educating them for independence.” The Montessori philosophy of “Help me to help myself” emphasizes that giving the child room to explore and learn on their own benefits them more than having things done for them.  As Montessorians, we take great pride in our “prepared environments” that allow children to choose work and to have a say in what they are learning. That being said, the outdoors is one of the best environments for children to learn independence. In fact, the outdoors is one of the best environments for children, period.

Here is a wonderful (short) article on the many benefits from children being in nature.  

It warms my heart to see the children at TNSM embracing the outdoors and learning to creatively play in a natural environment.  Below are a number of snapshots from today.
When we allow a child to struggle with something until the  task is finished by themselves, it lights a spark inside of them. They feel confident and happy, which pushes them to try more things on their own. The more they find they can do by themselves, the more it benefits them in the long run.When a parent or teacher gets out of the way and just observes them finding things out on their own, the child learns to have confidence in themselves to complete a task without being guided.Waiting on a child hand-and-foot or anticipating their needs before they can find their own solution does not allow them to do tasks they are capable of on their own. In this scenario, even the most loving and well-intentioned adults are stunting what a child’s level of independence could be.Get outside this weekend. Be there as an observer. You will be amazed at what they can do without you!  I know; it’s a bitter-sweet realization.


Jeff Groh


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