Outdoorsy Montessori: Why to Plant Some Peas in Your Preschool Children's Garden


Here's a rationale for the importance of a children's garden and growing peas in it, Montessori-style.

Photo from Depositphotos
When you grow peas, then you get to eat peas. In this photo, you can easily see the fine motor development that happens when shelling peas! 

Not to mention the health benefits of eating peas!

From Dr. Montessori:

 "There must be provision for the child to have
  contact with nature, to understand and 
 appreciate the order, the harmony and the
 beauty in nature, so that the child may better
 understand and participate in the marvelous
 things which civilization creates." (The Secret
 of Childhood)


During my recent visit with my youngest grandchild, we spent lots of time in the family vegetable garden. The snow peas were producing abundantly and we had such fun searching through the leaves to discover the peas. (VISUAL DISCRIMINATION)

Okay, I love to snap the peas right off their stem and pop them straight into my mouth. My little toddler prefers to open up the pods and eat the tiny peas inside. Then, I remembered just how important it is to grow peas in the children's garden. He meticulously opened the pods and gently plucked each tiny pea and then popped it in his mouth. His little fingers worked really hard to extract each pea from the pod! (SMALL MOTOR DEVELOPMENT & CONCENTRATION)

Recently, my grandchild has moved to his new house and there isn't a vegetable garden there. However, my daughter has that on her to-do list and she asked me to help her create a child-friendly veggie garden for them. 

So, I asked Jules which veggies he wanted to plant in his new garden. This little guy has been in the vegetable garden since before he could walk and so he is quite familiar with what is growing and what he likes. (INVOLVING THE CHILDREN IN THE DESIGN DEVELOPS DECISION-MAKING ABILITIES)

He decided on:
~ Peas
~ Strawberries
~ Carrots
~ "Little" tomatoes
~ Lettuce

Here is the design I came up with. There is a small area just outside the kitchen of his new house, and the sun is perfect for a small garden just for a child!

During my years in the Montessori Preschool classroom, the Children's Garden was a most important component of the Outdoor Classroom and its "curriculum." My design for Jules' Garden was based on the gardens I've created in my Montessori classrooms over the years. 

Here is one of my favorites:


The secret to bringing cognitive development into the activities that happen in the Children's Garden is to prepare the activities for the children to actually do themselves. 

As a veteran Montessori teacher, I am always looking for the control of error in every activity that I develop for the children.

In the garden, it is important to give the children the tools they need and these tools need to be child-size.

When the children themselves create the garden, plant the garden and do all the maintenance in the garden, they not only take ownership, but more importantly, they gain a vast slate of cognitive skills that feed their independence.

And, everything about the garden is a sensory experience:
~ Smells of soil, the herbs, and the flowers
~ Visual loveliness of the colors, shapes, and design of leaves, fruit, and roots of the plants
~ Auditory sounds of the animals who visit the garden (birds, insects, squirrels...)
~ The feel of plants, soil, tools, and the fresh air
~ And, of course, the taste (!) of the harvest!

Placing stepping stones between the garden beds is a wonderful control of error, along with Large Motor Development & Body Coordination. 

Likewise, putting on and taking off garden shoes helps the child with dressing skills and also keeping order in the environment. (IMPORTANT PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS LEADING TO INDEPENDENCE)

Marking the planting beds with string, helps the children with planting the seeds correctly. (This is another CONTROL OF ERROR.)

Labeling each row with seed markers helps the children identify the seedlings when they begin to sprout, as well as invite them to "read" the labels! (BOTANY & LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT)

Creating garden picture cards with numbers on the back of each, guide the child when harvesting from the garden. (CONTROL OF ERROR) This Activity offers the child more practice with an important PRE-MATH SKILL of associating NUMERAL TO QUANTITY (1:1 Correspondence) 

Then, we have so many wonderful garden activities that are very engaging for the child and serve the child's developmental needs.

You can connect the Children's Garden to just about every area of the Montessori Preschool Curriculum:
~ Practical Life
~ Grace & Courtesy
~ Self-care
~ Sensorial
~ Pre-math
~ Pre-language
~ Botany
~ Art
~ even...Zoology (gardens attract insects, birds, and squirrels! AND THE HEALTH BENEFITS FOR OUR OWN BODIES

 Check out the nutritional value of peas: Real Food For Life 

I have lots of blog articles about the Montessori Outdoor Classroom! CLICK HERE to see more.

And, you might also like these articles specifically about the Children's Garden: Outdoorsy Montessori- Children's Gardening

There are also several Outdoor Classroom/ Children's Gardening BOARDS at my PINTEREST SITE.

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope that you have gotten lots of inspiration for your Outdoor Classroom!

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Artfully Montessori: Four Color Activities and a Free Montessori Color Tablets Extension, too!

Here are four fun extensions with the Montessori Color Tablets that include these curriculum areas: Music/Sensorial, Math, Art and Language. And, please don't miss my newest freebie: "Montessori Color Tablet Activity!"

I got this idea from a long-time colleague, Mary Cooper, and I decided to create a freebie for all of you to enjoy in your Montessori environments.

You'll find the link at the end of this post. Or, if you are already a subscriber, then you can download this resource right away!

It is a hands-on matching work that moves into a take-home activity sheet, that even goes further to become a fun rhyming words/Language activity as well!

What I love most about Montessori materials is that you can use them in so many ways as the children become more and more skilled at using them. 

The Montessori Color Tablets have always been one of my favorites, especially Color Box 3 with its amazing array of color hues that can turn into a beautiful work of art when completed!

Children in just about every Montessori environment, set up the Color Box 3 in a lovely display that also sharpens their visual discrimination skills.
Your children may already do this lovely extension with Color Box 3, in which you arrange the various shades of tablets from darkest to lightest from a center nonagon or circle. When the child has completed the work, then we set a candle in the middle (battery operated candles work great) and then we sing the song, "I Can Sing a Rainbow."

Here are the words to that song:
"Red and orange and yellow and green

Blue and violet, too.

I can sing a rainbow, Sing a rainbow

You can sing a rainbow, too."
 Adding the song, creates a little celebration for color!

This "Color Addition" activity combines color mixing with math symbols.
I learned about this activity during my AMS training years ago and it is a wonderful reinforcement for your classroom work with color mixing and understanding the secondary colors from the elements of art.

There are strips of paper from a template with 5 squares printed on each strip. The first square is blank, second square has a printed plus sign, then there is another blank, followed by a printed equal sign and finally the fifth square is a blank.

The child colors in the blank squares with first a primary color (ex: red) then fills the third square with another primary color (ex: yellow) and then colors the final blank square with the resulting secondary color that results when the 2 primary colors are mixed. (ex: red+yellow=orange) 

The Color Tablets in the very first Montessori "Casa di Bambini" in Rome, were made of spools of thread. This beautiful work pictured below is a simple round tray that is set up for the children to arrange actual spools of thread around to create a Color Wheel, to go along with your studies of the Elements of Art.  
This activity works best if you can find a round tray with compartments so that the child can see the place to lay out each spool. Also, I would recommend creating a control card of a color wheel that would go along with this activity. 

You can add another challenge of placing small labels of the names of each color that has been arranged on the child's color wheel. 


This Activity is a combination of the Montessori Color Tablets and the Montessori Moveable Alphabet! 

You can add objects (such as a button that is the color of the tablet).

This particular work was designed to work with the phonogram alphabet box and so the double ee is built with the red letters and then circled with a small embroidery hoop.

This Activity is designed to be set up first as a manipulative shelf work, with a laminated control chart. The child finds the correct color tablet from Box 2 and then places it on the correct drawing of the particular color tablet pictured. (ex: the red color tablet) Then, the child reads the word "red" and points to the picture of the bed and says, "bed." That rhymes!

After the child has done the work with the actual tablets, the s/he is ready to make her own chart. In my Freebie, there are templates for you to copy for the children to fill in the colors and the name of the color and they can even color in the object pictured. (ex: red bed)

Later, the child can make another chart and fill in the name of the rhyming word instead of the name of the color.

This was always a popular activity with my groups when I was a classroom teacher! I hope your group enjoys it, too.

If you are already a subscriber, then you can go to my Subscribers Freebie Collection and enter the password to access my 40+ free resources.

If you haven't yet joined my newsletter email list, I invite you to join now at this LINK, or simply fill out the form on the sidebar of this blog (at the end of this post if you are on a mobile device.)

 You will immediately receive a welcome email with the password for my Freebie Collection so that you can download any or all of my resources!

Once again, I want to thank you for visiting my Blog today. I hope you enjoyed your visit!

To see more Montessori Art posts CLICK HERE. 

You might like my PINTEREST BOARDS, too!

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Musically Montessori: How To Use the Montessori 3-Period Lesson to Develop Listening Skills in Young Children


In the process of creating my third Musically Montessori eCourse, I realized just how often I use the 3-Period Lesson and consequently how noticeably the children in my groups are developing more and more precise listening skills. You can see the Montessori 3-Period Lesson in a "nutshell" at my blog post HERE: "Have you tried the 3-Period Lesson in Your Montessori Music Circle?"

Montessori 3-period lesson from Magical Movement Company


"Focused Listening" is always an important part of my Montessori Music Circles, and the children really enjoy this time in our Lesson.  This is also valuable practice in developing auditory discrimination skills. 

Over the months of an organized music curriculum, the children in my groups are now noticing important elements in music during our Focused Listening Activities. These little ones in music class will call out that they hear the trumpet or the violin or even that they heard that the music was "Largo" (slow) or "Presto" (fast) during our Focused Listening Activity. 

I often marvel at the listening skills these Preschoolers have been developing. These youngest of children are such a wonderful example of educated listening and appreciating music with a discerning ear! This is a huge benefit of early music experiences for young children in their cognitive development.


Here's how I offer experiences for developing auditory discrimination skills through Focused Listening at Music Circle.

For the past several weeks, we have been exploring the four Instrument Families of the Orchestra: Brass, Strings, Woodwinds, and Percussion. (I introduce these families by using the First Period of the Montessori 3-Period Lesson)

After the children have had experience with at least two of the Instrument Families, (ex: The Brass Family and the String Family) then I begin to offer some challenging (and fun!) activities to develop the second and third periods of the Montessori 3-Period Lesson.

~ I begin by showing the children large visuals about the concept of the Lesson, including a picture of the composer, or the country the music is from, and other pictures such as a photo of the instrument being featured. 

Here is how "Focused Listening Activities" go:
1. Prepare the ears for listening:
We rub our ears gently around the edges to get them sensitive for listening

2. Play a music excerpt that illustrates the music concept of the Lesson 

3. The music excerpt should be between 30 seconds and a minute long. This gives the children enough of the music to hear the concept, yet keeping it short, keeps the children engaged. (my "one minute rule" is one of my teaching strategies)

First Period:
  • I say, "I am going to play music that features the Cello from the String Family of Instruments."
  • I show the children a picture of the Cello.
  • Next I say: "This is a picture of the Cello"
  • Then I say: "Let's all say 'Cello' together." (children repeat the word with me)
  • Finally, I play the music excerpt that features the Cello.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: I play excerpts of music in which the concept is very obvious. For example, when featuring the Cello, I play music that is only the Cello, so that the children do not get confused. This is an important part of the Montessori method, termed "isolation of difficulty." 
This link is an example of the Cello: "Yo Yo Ma and Unaccompanied Cello Suites Complete."

Second Period:
  • On another day, I tell the children: "I am going to play some music for you to listen for one of the instruments from the String Family." 
  • I play the excerpt of the Cello that I played for the children in the previous lesson a few days before. (see above)
  • Then, I ask the children: "Do you think the instrument in that music was the Trumpet or the Cello?"
  • More than likely, the children will answer: "The Cello."
  • If the child/ren don't seem to have the concept yet, then I simply go back to the first period and I say: "The instrument in this music was the Cello."

You can extend this part of the Lesson by showing two visuals, one of the Trumpet and one of the Cello.

When you ask, "Was that the Trumpet or was that the Cello?" You can show the two pictures and then point to each one and invite the child/ren to indicate which one is the Cello.

From Maria Montessori:
"This second period is the most important of all and comprises the real lesson, the real assistance to the memory and the power of association...If the teacher, however, notices at the very first that a child is not inclined to pay attention to her and makes mistakes in his answers without attempting to do well, she should, instead of correcting him and insisting upon the exercise, suspend the lesson for the time being and start it again at some later time." Discovery of the Child p. 157

Third Period: 

  • After lots of practice with the second period of this Lesson, it's time to bring in the third period of the Montessori 3-Period Lesson
  • I say: "We're going to listen to some music from the String Family of Instruments. See if you know which instrument is playing in the music."
  • Then, I play the selection of the Cello that the children are familiar with. (see above)
  • Next, I ask: "What is the name of the instrument being played in that music?" 
  • More than likely, the child/ren will answer: 'Cello.'

  • Once again, if the child/ren didn't answer correctly, then I simply say: "That was the Cello playing in the music." And, I would show the photo of the Cello.  (returning to the first period) Then, I make a mental note to offer the String Family Cello Focused Listening Lesson again on another day.



If you haven't downloaded my latest FREE RESOURCES from my Subscribers Freebie Collection, then you will enjoy incorporating these activities in your next Music Circle. 


For this Activity, there are 3 FREE resources that go together so that you can use the Montessori 3-Period Lesson to explore instruments of the orchestra with young children. The Mp3 music downloads have a little narration from me to help the children listen for certain instruments. There are also Visuals for your presentation at Circle.

My newest Activity Packet at my TpT Store is a comprehensive set of activities and Mp3 music downloads that introduces the children to all 4 Families of the Orchestra. (1st Period) Next, you can go on to play the games that go along with the Second Period of this Lesson. And, then, there are Mp3 music selections to challenge the children in the Third Period of the Lesson. 

My groups have really enjoyed these activities and I am delighted when I observe how many skills they have gained in their journey of discovering the elements of "music appreciation." 

My latest eCourse is about this very topic! 

Musically Montessori eCourse: "Instruments of the Orchestra"

for a 20% discount on the enrollment fee 

You'll find lots and lots of resources for your Montessori curriculum at my Pinterest Site, too! 


Once again, I am delighted to have you here! Thank you for visiting my Blog today. I hope you found some helpful information and some fun activities to try out, too.

Photos in this post are from Adobe Stock, Depositphotos, and Magical Movement Company Archives.

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Musically Montessori: Have You Tried the 3-Period Lesson in Your Montessori Music Circle?


Since I have been teaching the Montessori way for nearly 30 years, it just seems to come naturally that I would use the Montessori 3-Period Lesson in my Music Circle. 

Here is how I offer some basic music concepts in our singing activities!

From Dr. Montessori:
"The child must see for himself what he can do, and it is important to give him not only the means of education but also to supply him with indicators which tell him his mistakes……The child’s interest in doing better, and his own constant checking and testing, are so important to him that his progress is assured.  His very nature tends toward exactitude and the ways of obtaining it appeal to him." (The Absorbent Mind, p.  229)


The classic Montessori 3-Period Lesson consists of three building blocks to learning that are implemented by the teacher and then absorbed by the child herself, after playful games and practice  with the concept to be learned.

In A Nutshell:

Teacher begins with 2 or 3 objects or concepts (ex: circle & triangle)

First Period: "This is..." (ex: "a triangle.")
Second Period: "Show me..." ("the triangle.")
Third Period: "What is this called?" (pointing to the triangle.)


Nowadays, after decades of being a classroom Montessori teacher, I am working with children as a music specialist and so I am focusing on one area of the early childhood curriculum: music education.

And, at a subconscious level, my teaching style reflects the techniques from the Montessori method that I have used for years! You may be experiencing this same sort of automatic way of implementing the Montessori method yourself as you educate your children daily in this manner. It becomes second-nature. 

As an AMS instructor in my local area, and also when I am creating my on-line Musically Montessori eCourses, I find that I am explaining to my adult students not only what I am doing with the children, but also what the underlying Montessori principle is that I am implementing. This helps my students understand what is effective in my techniques and also gives them the reassurance that their studies of the Montessori method work in all areas of teaching.

In music, I often introduce children to new ideas, such as the concept of slow and fast in music. That is called "tempo," and I teach the children the music terminology of "Largo" and "Presto," through the 3-Period Lesson right at our music circle.

Here is a quick example:
First period: 
  • "Let's  make the Ahh sound in a slow way. Like this." 
  • I demonstrate singing "Ahh" slowly. 
  • Then, I say: "Slow in music is called 'Largo'."  
  • Next I say: "Can you say Largo with me in a slow way?... L-a-r-g-o."
  • " Finally I say: "Now, Let's sing, 'Ahh' together in a Largo way." 
  • And, we all proceed to do that!

I go on to say:"Now let's make the Ahh sound in a fast way. Like this." (I demonstrate singing "Ahh" quickly) Then, I say: "Fast in music is called 'Presto'." 

So we proceed to go through the above sequence and this time singing the "Presto" way, with everything sung quickly. 

Second Period:
  • On another day, I say: "We are going to sing 'Ahh' the Largo way. Is that going to be fast or is that going to be slow? 
  • The children will probably answer "slow." (However, if they don't seem to have that idea yet, I go back to the first period and say, "Largo means slow in music." (I say this in a slow way to help the children make further connections)
  • Likewise, I go on to say: "Now, we are going to sing 'Ahh' the Presto way. Is that going to be slow again, or is that going to be fast?" etc...

Third Period:
  • After the children have had lots of practice with the second period of this lesson (see above), then I say: "Who remembers what the word for slow is in music?"
  • There will probably be children who answer 'Largo'. However, if not...then simply go back to the first & second periods and keep reinforcing the concepts! That is the beauty of the 3-Period Lesson.

EXTENSION: At a later date, you can introduce cards with the words "Largo" and "Presto" written on them (I add a picture of a rabbit for presto and a turtle for the largo sign.)

You can find more Presto and Largo Activities in my TpT shop.

At this link: "Musically Montessori: Is It Presto or Is It Largo?"

Here is another one of my TpT Activity Packs.

You can get these Activities (above) and much more for your Montessori Music Curriculum when you enroll in my "Musically Montessori eCourse, First Twelve Weeks." 

USE this COUPON CODE for 30% off the regular enrollment price!



Musically speaking, the 3-Period Lesson is one of my all-time favorite techniques to use at Music Circle. Do you agree?

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