“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature.” — Maria Montessori
One of the principal tenants of the Montessori philosophy of child education and development is the vital connection between children and nature. Dr. Montessori believed that children need quality time outdoors to help develop their physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills, as well as discover the wonders, order and harmony of nature.
Similarly, Apple Montessori Schools believes that the outdoors is an extension of our classrooms, helping children learn valuable life lessons and skills. Studies prove that outdoor activities support healthy brain development and offer other vital benefits to nurture and promote your child’s well-being. That’s why we help and encourage children to learn about plants and gardening, participate in sports, and enjoy playing in our playground and summer camp. We believe in integrating the classroom with our natural outdoor environment.
At many Apple Montessori locations, we have outdoor gardens for toddlers, preschool/kindergarten and elementary school children. They learn how to plant vegetables and flowers and all about what plants need to grow—including soil, water, air, and even insects.
Benefits of Being Outdoors
Undoubtedly, being outdoors and exercising promotes a healthy lifestyle. Running, jumping, skipping, and walking helps develop your child’s motor skills and build strength, balance, and coordination.
Spending time outdoors helps your child absorb new information about their world and experience the environment first-hand. Dr. Montessori believed in teaching children the peaceful beauty and harmony of nature found in any backyard, park or beach, including the trees, plants, flowers, ground, water, animals, and birds. The sights and sounds are stimulating and soothing simultaneously.
Playing outdoors provides the opportunity for your child to pursue fun activities independently or in a group environment. Breathing deeply, exercising, and laughing while playing is a great stress reliever to minimize anxiety and alleviate attention deficits. We find children are more focused in the classroom after enjoying outdoor activities.
Interaction with other children is another significant benefit of outdoor activities. Children learn how to make friends, build relationships, and act as part of a team. This involves learning how to communicate respectfully, give and take direction cooperatively, develop problem-solving skills, and behave kindly and appropriately with others.
So how much time outdoors is recommended?
Depending on the season and your schedule, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour per day is recommended by The Centers for Disease Control, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Mayo Clinic.