“Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning as it wakes every living creature that divides its day between waking and sleeping.”
-Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, pp. 68-69
Maria Montessori’s wisdom when it comes to the relationship between the child and nature is, perhaps, more important to attend to now than in 1948, when the words above were first published in English. Montessori conducted countless hours of observations of children learning and she found, as many others who have come after her, that children’s learning is deeper, more dynamic and more lasting when it is connected to or conducted in nature.