In a Montessori Primary classroom, you give the child the world, and see where their interests are.
This summer the 12-month Primary students were read a story about rain forests and took a follow up field trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens which evoked a summer-long interest and study on the tropical forests.
At the Gardens children found themselves spending a lot of time in the rainforest building. Students found a vanilla tree and an ant tree, a mango tree and a cocoa plant. They loved to go up to the very top of the tree to look out and see what else they could find.
A spark ignited, the next day the children wanted to know more. Where was the largest rainforest? How much rain did a rainforest get? Who and what lived there? What creatures inhabit those parts of the world?
They learned the story of chocolate and discovered that cocoa is from tropical areas as is coffee. Children learned about 3-finger sloths, which made enough of an impression for one child to ask if the class could get a sloth to be the class pet!
During the summer the class talked, discussed, read, and researched answers to create their own rainforest. They drew a parrot in a next with eggs, a sloth, a jaguar, and made paper vanilla beans, and mangos for trees. They created different layers of the forest. At the end of the summer they presented their work and gave a tour of their man-made rainforest to their parents.
While the summer program has come to a close, the rainforest study is far from over and the spark far from extinguished. The children are still engaged and will continue to learn all that the rainforest needs. Artwork continues to be displayed outside Koral’s classroom.