5/12/15

Eco-friendship. Ways to incorporate eco-principles and nature appreciation in everyday life


Earth day was a great opportunity to start to talk with children about Earth protection and ecology, but it doesn't mean that after it we need to stop. We need to continue eco-education, and as with other Montessori things we need to do it everyday. 


By eco-education I mean not only Earth protection things but also nature and healthy living, because ecology in general is a study of interactions among organisms and their environment.

So here are some tips and advice for eco-education and nature appreciation:

1. Have a nature corner at home


Of course, the first thing to make it is to have some pet at home. Little ones like observing them and caring about them. Having  living creature at home is such a pleasure! Think of the type of animal that is appropriate for your family. Carefully show the Child ways he can care about it, feed it. Or maybe you already have a pet at home? What is it? How does your Child care about it? What is your personal favourite pet? For kids, my favourite would be Guinea Pig. They are cute, friendly, easy to take care of and not harmful.

Living Montessori now has a great post about Montessori Care of Pets with useful advice and a lot of interesting information.

Do you have a private house and farm animals? Great! I am sure your little helpers will enjoy taking care of them too!

Plant room flowers with Children. Be careful to choose flowers that are not poisonous. Make taking care of flowers your home routine that Child needs to make several times a week.  Flowers are of great use for further biology learning too.

Look at this awesome material posted on FB by Yuriy Filev from Montessori school in Stavropol, Russia. You must see all the photo sequence of Care of the flower material. Btw, the material itself looks so beautiful!


In general having plants or animals at home builds in the Child love to all living creatures and this is the aim. It is a great way to teach respect for even the smallest things. By caring of animals and flowers, we try to develop a life-long habit. 

2. Grow a vegetable garden


Isn't the food you grow 100% tastier and healthier than the bought one? Children will gladly plant, dig, grow, cut and water different plants. It is a wonderful way to encourage kids to eat vegetables because they will definitely eat things that they grew by themselves.
Choose a different plant that will activate all the Child's senses. Choose the ones that are nice to smell, interesting to touch, yummy to taste.
Composting shows how leftovers can be transformed into rich fertilizer that helps other plants to grow.
Discuss the importance of water saving.

I love an amazing blog that is called Wings, worms and wonder it is all about creating a garden by a Montessori teacher. It also has a lot of ideas for connecting your Child to nature, nature journaling, garden tips. Kelly is helping enthusiastic gardeners and journalers to grow successful gardens and nature journal routines at home, school and in the community. Also, she published an amazing book that is a guide for creative gardening and outdoor learning. 


3. Grow herbs or vegetables indoors


If you don't have a place for a garden that is completely no problem, you can grow plants indoors! Just right on your windowsill or balcony. You still can have a good harvest.
Another thing to grow is herbs. Their smell is so interesting and you can add them to food or create some invitation to play using them, you can use them in the craft.
Cool thing to grow with kids is healing herbs. Every Child will be thrilled to grow something that can heal him.

Herbal Academy of New England has so many awesome ways to incorporate herbs in Children's lives, like
- guide to wildcrafting
- herbs growing
- drying herbs
- starting your herb garden
- recommendations for herbs to grow
- herbs to get to know
- herbal pharmacy (simple herbal preparations)
- how to make your own infusions!
And many other cool things.
Also, they have a large number of the most wonderful free printables about herbs!


4. Tours, walks, hiking, visiting farm. 


The best way to learn about nature is to go into the wild! Scavenger hunt, learning about insects, plants, herbs, berries and trees. Bring home treasures that you found and research them!



I love Project Wild Thing! They made such a wonderful film about getting kids outside and reconnecting them with nature. The film is a feature-length documentary that takes a revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly desperate connection between children and nature (you can watch the trailer for the movie HERE). This movement to my mind is very important now.
Also, they have so many wonderful Wildtime Ideas described like bird watching, nature hunt, bug search, making a bird box, diorama in a jar and many others!

5. Outdoor health strengthening


Teach kids about the human body. Learn what is health and how to strengthen it. Make gymnastics. Stimulate their minds and bodies through physical activities. Air and sun baths, barefoot walks are also welcomed!

Make your own health path. To make it you can use stones, gravel, acorns, sticks, pine needles,  different corks and caps, sand, grass. Such paths are almost in every kindergarten and camp in Russia.
Going through the various sections of the surface effects on biologically active zones located on the sole of the foot - the area associated with the immune system of the body. It  helps to stimulate and strengthen the body's defense, prevention of flat feet, increase resistance to infectious diseases, improve the functions of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also inspire the healthy lifestyle, improve the emotional and mental state of children, develop coordination of movements.

Maam site shared their cute health path.


6. Healthy eating and importance of vitamins


Pay Child's attention to proper nutrition, make it clear that it is in charge of normal growth and development, as well as the preservation of health. Talk with Child about different vitamins that every product contains. Look at the how important they are.

Montessori Nature has really wonderful material about Healthy food choices and Vitamins Facts. With its help, Children will learn easily about healthy products.


7. Read books that cover ecology topics


ALLterNATIVE learning shared with us HUGE EARTH DAY BOOK GUIDE that is such a great resource!


8. Recycling


Teach kids to reuse and recycle. If possible draw and write from the both sides of the paper. Bring all the waste paper to a special place that collects it. Teach Child that trash as all the items has a special place too.

I also want to share with you my cards that are designed to teach kids about water pollution.
The material consists of 2 label cards (polluted water, clean water), 10 pictures of water pollution, 10 pictures of clean water. The material is color coded and has control of error. Instruction for using is included.



You can download it HERE

Share with me your ideas about eco-education

4 comments:

  1. So many great ideas in this blog post. Just in time for summer!

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    Replies
    1. These ideas are not new but the links may be found interesting;)

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  2. The "Polluted and Clean Water Cards" are amazing! Thanks for your wonderful ideas!

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