Outdoor Classroom: Autumn Leaves, Pumpkins and Halloween!


This time of year is very exciting for Preschoolers since Halloween night is a big "Let's Pretend..." party for all ages! We, who work with this age group, are spending lots of time explaining the difference between what is real and what is not real. In fact, that is one of the developmental tasks of the young child...figuring out the difference.

In the Montessori approach, we keep the environment filled with "real stuff", like plants, pets and all kinds of child-size tools for children to do the real work of life.

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Give a young child a feather duster, or a short handled broom and they will immediately go to work on cleaning up the environment. What young child doesn't like digging in the garden with real garden tools? Real work is truly appealing to young children because it is what they see the adults doing all day long!

Using a child-size shovel to plant a garden!
                                               Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company 

"Firefighters" harvesting peas from the garden!
                                             Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Likewise, children will clamor to use a child-size rake to rake up the leaves that are falling this time of year. And, pumpkins are a favorite for scrubbing, decorating, cutting open to get the seeds for roasting, and of course baking pumpkin pies.

Harvesting pumpkins from the Children's Garden!
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

4 Yr old sweeping off the walkway!
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company 

More sweeping with a child-size broom!
                                            Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Hauling pumpkins from preschool garden!
    Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company


 Children scrubbing pumpkins!
  Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company 

             Preschooler raking leaves with a child-size rake!
                                            Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

For sure, Preschoolers are trying their best to learn the skills that are necessary in the real, adult world. Through pretend play, children practice what they see the adults doing. Even the youngest children love to "cook" in the play kitchen or bundle up the baby dolls before "nap time." So, when Halloween comes along, there is a night of pretend play that everyone participates in no matter what the age! 

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

With preschoolers, we offer the un-scary make-believe of kitten costumes, and tinker bell fairies, princesses, & mermaids along with Spongebob, Mickey Mouse and Pluto.  Just to mention a few of the fun costumes my students excitedly describe to me these days!

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Then, there are the fun "costumes" that fit any season and are wonderful for the outdoor play of young children who are busily practicing the real work they see happening all around them! 

"Playing Firefighters": Pretend that goes on all year long in the Outdoor Classroom!
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

During my recent visit to Hawaii, my grand daughter and  I  spent the last days of summer making a fun little video about going to the beach and we had to include one of our favorite themes:  silly, friendly & not-real PIRATES! A few weeks before, my "fairy godson", Myles created the little boat and helped me film some of the ocean scenes at our local beach in CA. Hope you enjoy this video with the Kindermusik poem, "Ahoy There, Mates."

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