Educate To Life - Montessori Notes

Outside! Two guides to discovering Nature

There is no bad weather, only wrong clothes:)
This was the first rule that I had to take in after moving from Italy to London, and then after becoming a mum, realising how crazy and exhausting days spent indoor can be.
We are very lucky to live 5 minutes away from Hampstead Heath, a huge, stunning park that stretches across over 3km of old woodland, playing fields, swimming ponds and meadows of tall grass, perfect to explore in any season. 
As the temperature finally dropped in the past days, we couldn't wait to head there, to climb on all the fallen trees enjoying the crispy air, the same breeze we were so fearful of a few years ago:)

These two books both encourage children to connect with nature and with the world around them, and they can be a great support to some outdoor fun and to activities to explore in the winter months.

Nosy Crow just published the 2019 Nature Month-by-month, in association with the National Trust. It's a true almanac taking children on a journey through the seasons: it's an illustrated guide featuring facts about each month, indoor and outdoor craft and activity ideas and seasonal food to grow and recipes, festivals to celebrate and important dates to remember and finally some information about the weather and phases of the moon, just like traditional almanacs have.
This book is literally packed with facts and contents are nicely laid out throughout the 192 pages, which also include a calendar and some space for the child's notes at the end.
We loved the small format with the bookmark string, it's the size of a diary or agenda, perfect for small hands and to be carried around.

The reason why I like this kind of books, (apart from my obsession for the non-fiction genre:) is that they support the child's development. Children aged 6-9 go through three important sensitive periods (in the Montessori pedagogy these are a limited periods of time during which the child is dramatically receptive to an area of knowledge or self-development) :

1. A Sense of Time and History: the child is capable of gradually forming concepts of time, beginning with the recent past and present, but gradually extending through the use of the imagination to the distant past and future. A child aged 6-9 is ready to fully understand the concepts of year/month/day, and will most likely be busy learning about reading the clock.
2. A Sense of Human Culture and Membership in the Family of Man: the child is interested in other cultures and easily forms positive or negative prejudicial attitudes towards them. He is ready to connect more with the adult world, understanding events and participating in the family life. It is also essential to expose the child to diversity at this age. This book does not privilege one single culture, but collects ideas from different ones.
3. A Sense of How the World Works: the child constantly wants to know how things work, to understand reality. He experiments and asks loads of questions. During this stage, if given the right experiences, he will form an inner picture of the logical universe that can be understood. He is interested in physical laws, facts, science. 

This is the age when parents tend to abound with fictional characters and stories, in the belief that these will foster the child's development, while children truly thrive on non-fiction until the age of 9. Give them facts. After that, they can have fun reading Harry Potter independently :)
Leaf through the book here.
2019 Nature month-by-month 
A children's almanac [4th October 2018] - available on Amazon Books
Written by Anna Wilson
Illustrated by Elly Jahnz
English-language edition published by Nosy Crow
Reading age: 5+
Themes: Nature, Non-Fiction, Indoor and Outdoor activities, Seasons

OUTSIDE, a Guide to discovering nature is an elegantly illustrated anthology of nature for slightly older children (9 to 12), packed with facts and curiosities written in the form of Q&A , to respond to very demanding readers. It also includes activity ideas to encourage the whole family to jump off the couch, leave the house and start exploring as well as lyrical interludes.
Nature is a very broad topic and despite being a thick 360-pages volume, this book is not about everything in nature. The authors focus on that Nature which is closer to us, in gardens, parks, green suburban areas and beaches. That's basically the type of nature that children living in cities can more easily access and connect with.
This book amazes for the originality of its format rather than for the newness of its content.
The layout is essential, with a palette of basic colours of orange and blue, but it's rich in the use of typography, which creates a truly elegant effect, that works well with the authors' attempt to arouse sensibility and love towards nature, alongside factual interest.
The book won the coveted Bologna Ragazzi Award in 2015 in the section Opera Prima, and it is the result of the joint work between biologist Maria Ana Peixe Dias, ecologist Inês Teixeira do Rosário and illustrator and publisher Bernardo P. Carvalho
It has been translated in Italian, English, Spanish, German and Dutch.
A Guide to Discovering Nature [2014] available on Amazon Books
Written by Maria Ana Peixe Dias and Inês Teixeira do Rosário 
Illustrated by Bernardo P.Carvalho
English-language edition published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books, an imprint of Quarto Knows

La' Fuori: Guida alla scoperta della Natura [2016]
Italian edition published by Mondadori

Reading age: 9+
Themes: Outdoor activity, Nature, Non-Fiction

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