Children in the Montessori primary age range (preschool through kindergarten) are at a pivotal time in their lives. The experiences they have at this age have the potential to shape their futures.
The Montessori method is dedicated to helping children develop physically, mentally, and spiritually, and outdoor activities are an integral part of that development. Here’s a closer look at outdoor activities and why they matter so much.
They Help Kids Become Informed Citizens
The Montessori process aims to shape children into citizens of the world. That means becoming citizens of the natural world, too. Kids are naturally curious, so any outdoor activity will lead to learning and exploration. Montessori primary students can learn more about the world through nature walks, bug safaris, and even unstructured play outdoors.
They Engage the Senses
Dr. Maria Montessori stressed the importance of learning through the senses. Sensory activities are an integral part of Montessori learning, and outdoor exploration offers the perfect opportunity for Montessori primary students to experience new sights, sounds, textures, and smells.
Learning how to emotionally regulate while handling these new sensory experiences is also a critical part of Montessori primary programs. For a preschooler or kindergartener, an unpleasant texture (like the feeling of mud on their hands, for example) can be upsetting. However, in the supportive Montessori environment, the child learns how to cope with stressors, ask for help when needed, and effectively calm down once they’ve remedied the situation.
They Encourage Physical Development
Doing activities outdoors certainly stimulates children’s minds. It’s easy to forget that being outside — and especially being allowed to play freely outside — helps Montessori primary students develop physically as well.
Interestingly enough, when their playtime is more integrated into nature, kids seem to move more. One interesting study found that when natural elements (like logs and flowers) were integrated into play environments, children were more active than they were on more traditional, artificial playgrounds.
Playing outside doesn’t just build kids’ muscles and improve their general coordination — it also helps them develop fine motor skills. Picking a flower isn’t difficult for an adult, but for a young child with developing hands, it might be necessary to practice a few times!
They Build Confidence
Think back to the last time you found yourself in an unfamiliar environment and ultimately navigated it with ease. You probably felt a sense of confidence and accomplishment.
For Montessori primary children, navigating the outdoors is no different. Even conquering little challenges like jumping over a small stream or balancing on a rock can make a major difference in a small child’s confidence and overall worldview.
They Help Kids Develop Social Skills
In Montessori and non-Montessori schools alike, much of children’s time socializing with their peers happens outside. During outside activities (and especially during unstructured play), children learn and practice teamwork and other valuable social skills.
For example, each time a group of preschoolers decides what game to play on the playground, they practice communication, negotiation, and compromise — all essential skills for navigating interpersonal relationships at any age. Because children learn these skills while at play, they internalize them more readily and completely. Best of all, they do so while having fun!
Ready to Discover the Montessori Difference?
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children have certain periods when they can absorb more information. At our Montessori Primary Program (also known as a Children’s House), we help young children make the most of this important time — all while working at their own pace.
If you want to learn more about our program or Montessori in general, reach out to us to schedule a tour today.