Maria Montessori said, “Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when its raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning.” Children are naturally drawn to things in nature, from the smallest insect to the largest tree, all of their senses are involved in discovering the great outdoors.
We want to provide as many opportunities as we can for children to experience nature. Montessori classrooms often have a variety of plants and small animals. Something else we can do, if possible, is to take nature walks. Perhaps look for signs of a new season. Another way is to provide nature baskets in the classroom. These can include such things as sea shells, wood pieces, or rocks. Children enjoy exploring such objects. Including a magnifying glass with each basket, adds to such enjoyment!
Having a resource shelf with such things as a bug house, a critter house, and magnifying glasses allow for those spontaneous moments when a child spots an insect that just has to be caught and observed. Have fun and get creative with anything nature!