Executive Director and Founder Natures Classroom Institute Montessori School serving students 2.5-16 years. Located in Mukwonago, WI 2001-Present. Undergraduate Degree in Horticulture, Ryde School of Horticulture; Australia University of Melbourne, Australia, Master of Landscape Architecture Prelim, Montessori Administration. Geoffrey is a member of the AMS Board of Directors and the Chair of the Montessori Life Editorial Board.
Geoffrey built an organic farm from scratch, developing a strong youth educational program around the sustainability of farming. Integrating both Animal Husbandry and plant science in a dynamic farm environment for students to learn and experience.
Nature, as it is connected to a child’s development is a fundamental and important aspect of educating the whole child. In mainstream education the natural environment is sidelined and mostly ignored as an inconsequential part of a child’s well-being. This could not be further from the truth, studies have proven that a child’s connection to the natural world enhances their ability to focus, to concentrate, to create, take risks and to imagine. This connection has far reaching health benefits in the areas of social and emotional health, well-being, and physical health.
We dream of a time when the natural world was a part of our daily routine. Now with the advent of electronics, mass media and box stores, it is hard to find the time or the energy to reconnect with nature. Terms like “Nature Deficit Disorder”, “No child left inside” and the “Eatable school yard” makes us feel so inadequate, that we become helpless in being able to fight back. Nature is as an important part of our health, physically, socially and emotionally as any other academic or social pursuit.
This workshop gives teacher two things. First it will energize and revitalize the teachers need to reconnect their children to nature, to re-embrace the natural world and to discover the importance of that connection. The second aspect of the workshop will highlight different activities and curriculum ideas teachers can use to reengage their children and connect them to the natural world. We will look at Art and Nature, silence and listening connections, literature and writing exercises that bring nature to the four front and engage students in an environmental way. We will look at play and the benefits that the natural world with its loose parts, excited children to play in a focused and creative manner.
Are your students Nature deficient? How do we engage children in Nature? How do I bring Nature to my urban classroom? Is nature that important? What does the research say and what does Montessori say? Through stories, Poetry, play, art, and hands-on activities this workshop will answer these questions. Gain a "Sense of Wonder" through immersing your students in Nature.
Goals and Outcomes
- Participants will understand the importance of Nature for the appropriate development of a child.
- They will gain insight into how to achieve a child’s connection to Nature with limited resources.
- They will gain hands on activities for their students and be inspired to create activities and projects for their own classrooms and schools.