montessori cultural nature table

  PURPOSE: To cultivate and inspire a love of nature and curiousity for what is not yet known or understood.
           Make sure when planning the layout of your classroom, to incorporate a place for a nature table. The table should be stable and there should be enough room for the children to walk around it. The nature table should be short enough for the children to reach across it without having to stand on their toes to reach. This is a special place. Children are expected to treat the items with the utmost respect as if they were in a museum environment. This is why I try to dedicate at least one shelf in the classroom to botany in addition to the nature table which can house things that the children have collected themselves as well as things from a teacher's private collection. It is the teacher's responsibility to make sure that there are always items of interest on the table and to rotate them regularly. I like to keep a basket of magnifying glasses on the table for the children to examine more closely.
Some suggestions for starting a nature table in your home or classroom: seasonal items, botany experiments, vase of native flowers, leaves, seeds, once living specimens, etc.

Wooden drawers available at Ikea

  • Allow children to bring nature items from home and display them on the table.
  • Provide dusters and shelf/ table cleaning work in practical life so the children can help keep the table clean and learn to care for the display items.
  • Buy some drawers from Ikea and orginize your specimens -children can be allowed to take out one drawer out at a time. Drawers are not to be mixed.
  • Make it a job to maintain the table. A "classroom scientist" whose task it is to maintain the appearance of the table can be placed on your daily job chart

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