Autumn in Montessori classroom and home

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In one of my previous posts we already discussed ideas for learning about seasons with kids. Today I want to concentrate more on autumn.

We are the parts of the natural world and nature cycles influence us. In spring when nature wakes up we are more active, energetic and upbeat, in winter when nature goes to sleep our activities can slow a bit. 

It is needed for children to be surrounded by seasons and live in them and not just learn about them once a year. In general learning about time can be difficult for children because time is abstract. So we need to make it more real, hands-on and understandable for the child. Using the ideas that I will describe will help the kid to feel and explore the fall in its full.

The principle of order is crucial for the child so it is important for him to be aware of what is around. The child gets used to routines and sometimes even small changes influence him. Do you remember our 3 main principles of order? One of them is order in time. And it applies to seasons also. Imagine if the child is not educated about changes in seasons, he goes outside to play and sees that the world around doesn't look like it was before. It can scare him, he can refuse going outdoors or it can cause some bad behaviors. On the contrary, when the child learns about nature cycles, learn about natural changes day by day he knows what to expect. He is curious to go outside and look how the environment changes everyday.

Start exploring autumn season when it starts and every season in general too. It is better than learning about all the seasons together once a year. 

Decorate the environment

With seasonal changes in nature, the environment at home can change a bit also to support it. Decorate the environment according to the autumn season. Make some small space improvements in every room. This will help to bring order to the child and make everything connected. 

- use tablecloth with autumn design
- let the child set the table with placemats and napkins embroidered with autumn elements

- hang the apron with autumn prints to a hook. The child would be able to wear it by himself when he wants to help you in the kitchen or do some crafts

- use towels with autumn embroidery in the kitchen or bathroom
- hang some paintings related to autumn in the house
- use some crockery decorated with autumn designs in the kitchen or practical life area

This beautiful mushroom-themed set will decorate any environment and will be loved by kids
- make the mobile with autumn leaves and hang it in the child's room or use it as a house decoration

This Fall table setting is gorgeous!
This all will not only help the child but make home and life of your family brighter. The same changes can be easily made in your classroom. The space will look appealing, fresh and interesting.

Make an autumn nature table or a seasons corner

The nature table is a collection of different natural items. A child can touch, explore and discover them and in the same time appreciate nature. Put seasonal items there, such as pumpkins, chestnuts, fallen leaves, different types of nuts, flowers, bird feathers and other autumn nature gifts. It would be wonderful if the items will be collected by the child. Visit granny and let him get the pumpkin from the vegetable garden by himself, collect leaves in the park and mushrooms in the forest.

Check out these natural tables, they are very inspiring!

Seasons corner is a collection of different interesting and educational items related to the current season. It is a wonderful place in the environment for the child to receive different experience from the variety of sources and connect it all to autumn. You can put there various autumn nature treasures, fruits, and vegetables, educational cards, books related to autumn. You can hang seasons timeline, different prints or paintings near it. The child would be excited about the items related to autumn. It will increase his curiosity. It will then transform in the interest to learn more about things related to the season, like growing the mushrooms, pumpkin life cycle, changes in leaves colors, preparation of animals for the cold season, reason of weather changes. Maybe if you have enough space you can have a seasons shelf and put all these materials there. I described seasons corner in details in my next post. There you can read about what you should include in your season's corner.

Include autumn activities to all areas of learning

Include some autumn related materials to different shelves of your classroom or homeschool.

Use walnuts, acorns, nuts, leaves, pinecones, seeds, corn, pumpkins
- in your practical life area for transferring, stringing, spooning, polishing
- in your math area for counting and mathematical operations
- in your language area for finding the initial sound of these items, composing their names from the movable alphabet, composing stories, describing items
- in your sensorial area for size or color sorting, receiving sensorial experience, learning about shapes and forms
- in your art area for drawing them or creating some crafts with their help

Of course, you can include different educational cards and learning Montessori printables related to autumn to your shelves.

Try to use the cards for learning about autumn in 3 directions:
- changes in inanimate nature (learn about the weather changes, sun, sky, temperature, natural phenomena)
- changes in flora and fauna (learn about behaviors of birds and animals and about autumn changes in plants)
- changes in our lives (learn about how autumn influence people; what activities we do during this season; what we wear; what holidays we celebrate)

I was brainstorming a lot to create fresh, interesting and engaging autumn materials for the Montessori classroom this year. I made them with an intention to support children's interests that I observed.  check out my materials related to autumn. I described them in details in my next post.
- Autumn vocabulary language cards
- Spring and autumn leaves matching cards
- Autumn gifts Montessori 3-part cards
- Autumn berries Montessori 3-part cards
- Apple and pumpkin sequence cards
- Halloween painting and its piece sequence cards
- Autumn still life matching activities

You can also use my printable materials related to seasons, such as

Seasons and month Montessori inspired puzzle. It is wonderful because it is very visual and child can clearly see fall moths. Kids love working with it because it is presented in a very interesting way and the size of the material is pretty big. So this is a big circle that is divided into 4 color zones that represent different seasons (green - spring, red- summer, yellow - autumn, white - winter). Btw these colors are used in all of my materials, but I always include not color coded version if possible. The small circle represents the same tree during different seasons. If you work with younger children you can divide it into 4 parts and use only this small circle. You can divide the inner circle into 12 parts with older children. Next circle represents 12 months. Also, there is the sun in the center.

Seasons and months timeline. I used this cards as visuals in the classroom. I mounted them to the wall and children observed different periods of the year. Also, I made clear cards for every month describing monthly changes in nature. It helped to make a year cycle clearer to a lot of kids and it made it easier to us to observe some peculiarities of different months during our walks. It can be used as a picture to picture matching activity with younger kids. The materials include the instruction with variants of presenting it.

Seasonal children's activities. It is important for children to know how human life changes during different seasons and how they influence us. I made the material depicting children because kids love to work with such cards. They are very interested in works that show lives of other children. You can use only cards connected with autumn to discuss with children. Ask them to share their experience related to tasks on the pictures.

Seasons bingo game. During autumn you can use only 2 mats that show autumn. It is very fun and educational activity. Children learn a lot about autumn features from it. It includes such autumn nature elements and clothes.

5 Montessori materials for learning about seasons and months. These materials are for learning about seasons and months in general. Also, it includes word sorting seasons activity that is very liked by reading children. These activities will help a child to form stable knowledge about the sequence of months.

Free collection of seasons sounds.  This is a magical collection of different sounds that represent nature during a specific season. We sit with children in a circle and listen to them with our eyes closed. Then we discuss what we imagined and heard. We like to listen to sounds of nature during our walks, but often the environment can be too loud that can distract. 
Autumn sounds include:
- Autumn wind and rain
- Singing of birds in autumn
- Sound of autumn rain
- Sound of fallen leaves in autumn
- Sound of rain in autumn

Another couple of interesting activities that just came to my mind can be:
- You can create your own book with photos of your child or your family activities in autumn. It can be moments when you work in vegetable garden, collect leaves, walk in autumn clothes, collect mushrooms, observe nature in autumn. This way the child will learn more about this season and it will be also a bonding moment.
- Create autumn still life painting activity. Put easel, paints in the environment together with beautifully exhibited seasonal items and let the child draw them.

Don't forget to put some autumn related books on your shelves.

Explore autumn in nature

This is probably one of the most important moments. How can one explore natural changes without nature? So nature walk is a must! During every season. As they say, there is no bad weather only inappropriate clothing. During walks, the child receives sensorial experience on all levels. He touches natural elements, sees beauty and color variety, he listens to natural sounds, he feels the difference in temperature.

So what can you do on the autumn nature walk?
- just observe what's around and notice small changes
- try to notice changes in weather
- discuss what people or kids on the streets wear
- collect natural gifts
- collect mushrooms in the forest
- observe birds
- make a labyrinth from leaves or chestnuts

Make a labyrinth from fallen leaves
-  it is a wonderful time to make herbarium. I loved it when I was a kid and maybe because of my bond to this activity children in all of my classes loved it also! We then used it in a lot of different ways - for learning about trees, the structure of leaves, art and craft and much more.
- launch paper boats in puddles
- make a nature journal

I created this post to inspire you. Sometimes we don't appreciate things around but we are so gifted to live in this world that is full of wonders. Help you child to see them.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog with very valuable tips. Now a day Montessori education has come out to help children for their self education. It plays major role for developing the skill power, knowledge and interest for children. Before some days I had ordered some materials for my 2 year child through Kid Advance Montessori. They really provided me best product with good price. Keep blogging like this. Thank you.