I have a competitor to thank for my love for gardening. When I found out another Montessori school was opening near our old location about 10 years ago, I realized that I had to “up my game” with curb appeal, so I started adding flowers and shrubs. I made a LOT of mistakes along the way, but over time, I learned what plants work in certain locations and times of year and now, my front yard is my wonderland (I also have some beauties I just planted yesterday in front of Sunrise). Which is why I’m thrilled that gardening at Sunrise Montessori is an educational, exciting!, interactive playground for our Primary students and part of the Montessori Practical Life curriculum. Why is gardening part of the Montessori curriculum? And how can you extend these benefits at home? You don’t need a green thumb, promise! 🙂
Sunrise garden plots! You will find that the children are growing sunflowers, cilantro, tomatoes, beans and more!
Gardening is a fun, valuable part of our Montessori curriculum
Gardening teaches your child valuable skills
- Reliability and responsibility when it comes to taking care of a plant day after day
- Self-confidence: nothing is more rewarding than the fruits of our own labor
- Learning cause and effect – do good, not bad
- Curiosity in species, growing tips, botany and more
- Physical activity: gardening makes you move a lot
- Exploring texture: Gaining insight on density, weight, malleability, permeability, and more
- Growing the love of nature: putting love in what they grow
- Teamwork: friends or family
- Math: counting days, measuring nutrition, light exposure and more
- Creativity: crafting own landscape designs Source
Gardening encourages children to eat healthier
Growing your own food makes you proud of what you harvest, an incentive to try new vegetables! Our students at Sunrise have a weekly food prep activity where they try a different fruit or vegetable every week. You would be AMAZED at what they sample. 😉 They also sample what they grow.
Gardening enhances fine motor development
Children are still growing and both fine and gross motor development are developing. Gardening helps them to hone these important muscles and coordination.
Gardening introduces children to science
Okay, Science Geeks! Here’s your time to shine…Gardening exposes children to the concepts of botany (plants), chemistry (soil/water/sun), math (counting seeds, keeping track of what you planted, etc.), and even meteorology (monitoring the weather). I mean, come on, what more reason do you need than that? 😉
Gardening reduces both the level and effect of stress
It’s frankly the number one reason why I kept at it when I continued to experience set backs as I learned (i.e., killing plants). The zen, the noticeable decline in stress when I plant new flowers, water them, or just sit on the porch or from my home office while looking at my pretty plants…well, it’s addictive.
Gardening teaches young ones patience, improves focus, and enhances memory
Growing plants from seed, like our students do at Sunrise, takes a LOT of patience. Nothing happens for a while. But we know they can lose interest fast if they don’t see SOMEthing, so I always make sure to ask the teachers to have the children plant sunflower seeds every year. They are so fast growing that you see leaves popping through pretty fast.
Gardening teaches children the responsibility of preserving the environment
Icing on the cake!
How to bring gardening home!
Start SMALL if you don’t have experience. You can start with pots if you like (here’s a blog I wrote about how to do that successfully) or in the ground (here’s another blog I wrote). For the more daring, create a raised vegetable garden (see mine below, it’s deer resistant; I bought this and the raised beds we use at Sunrise at Costco, here’s a link if interested). And if you are living in a more rural area where deer eating your plants is a thing, I highly recommend using Deer Out (it’s a spray that doesn’t hurt anything, it just smells lightly of pepper, which they dislike).
Still not sure whether you want to try gardening with your child? Watch your little one LIGHT UP when talking about plants by visiting the one your child is working on at Sunrise! They are located at the back of our property, alongside the Green playground. Just ask your child to show you where it is and then ask questions about what they’ve done. They will LOVE your interest and it will encourage them to get more involved in their classroom’s garden plot, too. Here’s a great article that gives you tips on how you and your child can care for and cultivate plants at home.
And remember, there are NO gardening mistakes, only experiments. Happy gardening! 🙂
Some flowers and raised garden bed at my home