Children have an innate love for nature and it is vital to maintain this love and inspire its development – especially when enveloped by the brick and mortar that comprises city life. We have a beautiful garden space at St Andrew’s Montessori and the children spend time in it as often as possible but we also enjoy trips into the versatile outdoor spaces that punctuate our great city with a welcome sense of calm.

We recently took our little ones on an excursion to Barnsbury Wood and had a wonderful time exploring and adventuring amidst the trees and foliage. We talked to the children about the different seasons and the changes that occur when the temperature changes. Autumn is a magical time to be outside and we enjoyed playing and stomping in the leaves, and collecting some to have a closer look at.

Being in the wood was also the perfect opportunity to encourage the children to focus on their senses. We concentrated on the magical sounds of the nature reserve; listening to the natural and unnatural noises around us. We also played ‘meet a tree,’ which is a woodland exploration game whereby children split into pairs, and with their eyes closed are led to a tree to feel and explore. Once the children have opened their eyes, they try to discover which tree they met. It’s great fun! And of course autumnal colours; they simply cannot be ignored. The children made their own pictures on sticky cards, using as many of the colours they noticed in their natural surroundings.

Maria Montessori’s vision for schools was always a combination of indoor and outdoor classrooms – and in particular; bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in. This was Montessori’s way of studying and comprehending the interconnectedness of all things. So whilst our foray in Barnsbury Wood is momentarily over, we are excited to use the treasures we collected on nature tables and in collaboration with nature-inspired projects inside the classroom, keeping the children in touch with and energised by the wider world around them.