The Grey Lynn Montessori Approach to Outdoor Play
Dr Maria Montessori – the founder of the Montessori philosophy from the early 1900s – was well ahead of her time. While other preschool centres were solely focussed on the indoor environment, Dr Montessori appreciated how important it was for children to interact with nature. This approach has stayed true over 100 years later. Here are some of the many ways Grey Lynn Montessori Preschool ensures the outdoors is a prominent part of our children’s day.
The Montessori way believes in awakening a child’s five senses, and there’s truly no better way to do this than by spending some time outdoors. Feeling the grass under your feet; hearing the chirping birds; seeing worms wriggle in the garden, smelling the soil and tasting the herbs – our earth is naturally filled with sensory experiences that help feed a child’s growing brain.
Adjusting to the seasons is a very Montessori approach to nature and one that we adopt here at our Grey Lynn childcare centre. We do this by planting gardens in spring and observing the flowers burst through the ground in summer. We collect fallen leaves in autumn and jump in puddles in winter. We believe that nature and the outdoors can be enjoyed and appreciated year-round.
At our Grey Lynn daycare centre we encourage children to move around, test their physical abilities and follow their curiosity. While there are plenty of opportunities to move their bodies inside, out in nature it becomes so effortless for preschoolers to find, and exceed, their limits. We set up an outdoor environment that fosters this natural movement using balancing beams, obstacle courses, sand pits and more.
Appreciating the beauty around us
When you walk beyond the walls of any building, whether it’s at home or at childcare, it’s so easy to see the beauty that surrounds us. Our teachers don’t only point out the beauty they see in nature, but also inspire children to look for their own. One child might find beauty in a praying mantis they see on the grass while another pre-schooler discovers it in the clouds floating across the sky and yet another might be drawn to the mesmerising flow of water. We are all individuals who observe the natural world in our own way, and this should be celebrated.
Moments of quiet
At our childcare centre in Grey Lynn, we are strong believers in the power, and the need, for some quiet time each day – and the outdoors is a perfect space to promote this. While our outside space can seem boisterous with running and digging and jumping, our little ones also take opportunities outside to sit alone and enjoy some down time. They might find a quiet place to sit, bring an activity out onto the deck for some solo play or get absorbed in the act of digging a hole in the sandpit. This quiet time is invaluable for processing new skills, recharging their batteries and finding moments of calm.
Looking for a Grey Lynn childcare centre that fosters a love of the great outdoors?
Grey Lynn Montessori Preschool is just what you’re looking for. We’re a short distance from Westmere, Ponsonby, Mt Eden, Newmarket and Sandringham – pop in for a visit today and be sure to explore our inspiring outdoor space.