Artfully Montessori: Honor The Season With An Easy Way to Nature Art Journaling!


Everyone, Including Teachers, 
Need Art Journalling Time!
I have been so excited to have my very own copy of Kelly Johnson's newest publication: "Wings Worms & Wonder: 12 Month Art & Nature Journal."  After all, Montessori teachers deserve some reflective and creative journaling time and why not make it a beautiful nature journal that is something to cherish and save! If you are just discovering nature art journaling, you can learn about the California curriculum for nature journaling at this link: John Muir Laws. 

My copy of Kelly's book arrived in the mail just as November was approaching, so I had a fresh start on my nature art journaling on November first. Unfortunately, I have been suffering from a nasty case of bronchitis for several weeks and so my nature journaling needed to happen indoors in my warm, cozy studio. Coincidentally, a friend had just given me one of her annual Amaryllis bulbs planted nicely in a pretty clay pot that was starting to grow its lovely buds already. Then, over the days that followed, I greatly enjoyed observing the rapid changes as the vibrant red flower emerged!

So, I started making sketches on the very fun "Monthly Variations & Ephemera" page in my 12 Month Art & Nature Journal...a kind of daily thumbnail sketching page for the November section of my new journal.

My idea was to keep a sort of "time line" of the growth of this fantastic and showy flowering bulb. 

Then I did a larger, detailed drawing of the Amaryllis on the last day of November page. I'd already had lots of practice with drawing this flower because of the daily quick sketches I'd done for that page in my journal!

Children Benefit Cognitively 
from Nature Journaling
In the past, I have often brought one of these Amaryllis bulbs to my Montessori Preschool classroom so that it usually starts to bud or even flower around Thanksgiving. Then, December offers a beautiful day-to-day evolution of this gorgeous flower that makes a sweet seasonal statement regarding the beauty of the natural world and its cycles. Check out my past blog post here: Outdoorsy Montessori: Let The Children Plant Flower Bulbs, It's That Time of Year!  There is even a free download at the end of that post.

I think this sort of flowery classroom addition lends itself beautifully to children keeping a little art journal of their own that shows the development of the Amaryllis each day, or even weekly. (Areas of Cognitive Development: Botany, Natural History, Art Appreciation, Creative Expression)

Also, with upcoming wintry weather just around the corner, nature art journaling can be one of the very best indoor activities for children to enjoy the dramatic changes they see out the window. 

I've done this by setting up a "drawing station" with special supplies exclusively for art journaling. Children can then put together objects from nature to create a sort of "still life" so that they can sketch/draw/paint their creations in their own unique way. (Areas of Cognitive Development: Fine Motor, Creative Planning, Exploration of Art Materials and Principles of color, line, shape, etc)

And, of course, you can't forget the cognitive benefits of bringing the cycle of the flower to the Music Circle! Here is my post that will show you how to do that! Singing & Dramatizing the Cycle of the Flower in the Montessori Music Room.

Real Benefits Of  The
Wings, Worms, and Wonder Art Journal
There are some amazing aspects of Kelly's journal that I am still exploring and I see lots of art adventures ahead over the upcoming year! Kelly is a teacher at heart and she has filled this journal with lots of botanical information and inspiration:

  • First off, Kelly invites you to organize your thoughts and create your "Nature Connection Intention" on a full page just waiting for your creation. This will get your journaling off to a nice, well-ordered Montessori-style start!
  • There's a lovely quote from Rachel Carson at the beginning of the book: 
"One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'"

  •  Each month there is a "chapter" that is introduced by a beautiful line drawing of a seasonal flower that you get to color in! Kelly gives the common name, the botanical name and the spiritual significance of the flower.  For January, the flower is Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) and its significance is Hope & Rebirth. Is that just perfect for the new year!

Click HERE or on the pictures below to purchase Kelly's nature art journal book.

  • Next there is your page for making the "thumb nail sketches" for the month. In Kelly's on-line art classes, she recommends daily thumbnail sketching as a sort of warming up and meditational practice that keeps you engaged daily with your creative journaling.

  • After the sketch page, Kelly invites you to observe things in nature like, "twists & turns", "tendrils", "sprouts", and then she offers some artistic inspiration for you to put to your page. Here's the idea for November: "The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, or so the saying goes. Do you find that to be true, or do you sprout a new style of nature connected life? Explore your roots and seeds creatively."

  • Then, there's a wonderful page of luxurious empty space for you to sketch/draw/paint to your heart's desire!
  • Next page is a new month with a new set of inspirations! 
  • There are bonus pages at the end of the book, too. One is titled "Creative Nature Connection Reflections". Another is "Spontaneous Sketches" and my favorite one is "Thoughts, Discoveries, & Ideas to Further Explore" and even a beautiful "Thank You" page to color in!

  • Best of all---you will have a beautiful book that you created yourself at the end of your year of nature journaling! 

Plus, this journal is a beautiful way to share nature with your group of children from Preschool through High School aged.

I hope you've enjoyed this little review of one of the nicest gifts you could give or receive during the season!

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This article is posted with many others at the Montessori Monday Link-up at the Living Montessori Now site where you will find a wealth of Montessori resources, especially for the holidays! CLICK HERE to check it out.

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