Learning About the Cycle of Life With Classroom Gardening

Have you ever wondered how classroom gardening can benefit children in a Montessori toddler program and beyond? This practical, hands-on activity is not only fun and exciting for toddlers, but it also opens their minds to the principles of nature and the cycle of life. 

Take a closer look at how you can maximize learning and enjoyment as you bring gardening into your Montessori environment.

Start With Seeds

Starting a garden with seeds instead of providing seedlings or adult plants will allow children to see and learn about the entire plant life cycle from seed to maturity. As a Montessori toddler program guide, it’s a good idea to learn about which vegetables and plants are easiest to cultivate. 

This will help you know how to prepare your classroom garden and set yourself and the children up for success. You will want to make sure you are planting at the right time of year and in the right conditions for temperature and sunlight based on each flower or plant’s needs.

Make Space for Each Child

Consider giving each child a plot to care for. If your Montessori toddler program has a small space or limited outdoor space, you can also use individual containers. 

This hands-on approach will help children develop a sense of independence as well as a personal connection with nature. It will also help them see how their individual work contributes to the whole and plays a role in creating a beautiful garden everyone can enjoy.

Use the Appropriate Tools

Have children use child-sized tools. This is not only safer, as these tools usually won’t be too heavy to lift, turn, and move around, but it also gives children a real-life gardening experience so that they can gain practical skills using the correct tools. 

Being able to wield these tools can help them develop both confidence and motor skills.

Learn in Real Time

A garden gives children in a Montessori toddler program an opportunity to learn about basic biology in real time. It allows them to observe each stage of the plant life cycle, including: 

  • Seed
  • Germination
  • Seedling
  • Adult plant
  • Pollination

Students can also witness the development of fruit with seeds that may then go back into the ground and continue the cycle through a classroom garden. You can talk with them about the process of photosynthesis or plant vascular systems and how plants get food and water to grow.

Allow for a Sensory Experience

When possible, allow children to touch the soil and plants. Give them the opportunity to ask about the smells they experience in the garden area. 

The children in your Montessori toddler program can also observe plant colors and shapes, which helps them connect what they have learned in the classroom to what they see in the real world and allows them to find joy and fun in the learning process.

Garden With a Practical Purpose

If the children grow flowers, consider helping them arrange bouquets. If you decide to grow edible food, those fruits or vegetables can be harvested and served as a meal or snack. 

One of the biggest benefits of gardening this way is that it helps children see what happens at the end of the lifecycle and teaches them about the usefulness and practicalities of nature and the world around them.

Help Children Develop a Lifelong Love of Learning

Classroom gardening is an excellent way to help children develop their natural curiosity and a quest for continual growth. If this sounds like something you would like to cultivate in your child, our Montessori toddler program can help. At Montessori West, our programs are carefully designed to meet your child’s needs for exploration, productive work, and independence. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide your toddler with rich experiences in the right environment that will plant the seeds for a lifetime of learning.

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