“Children have an anxious concern for living beings, and the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest them in taking care of plants… nothing awakens foresight in a small child, who lives as a rule for the passing moment and without care for the morrow, so much as this.” 1
- Maria Montessori
When this grocery store Gerbera Daisy on my kitchen windowsill magically caught the light of the setting sun last week, it served as a breathtaking and beautiful reminder to revisit Maria Montessori’s thoughts on introducing young children to the care of plants. Providing young children with an opportunity to care for a houseplant she noted, fills them with “tenderness and enthusiasm, and there is born in them a desire to give further help…”2
Next time you’re in the market, swing through the floral department and see if there isn’t a plant that catches the attention of your little one.
Depending upon the preferences of the plant, together you can:
Select an optimal window placement; and
Establish a watering schedule.
Other activities you might consider:
Build a plant vocabulary. Identify and discuss the role of the stem, leaves, petals, stamen, roots, etc..;
Talk to your plant—NICELY! A 2018 study found that a plant that is given compliments will grow healthy and strong, while a plant that is bullied turns brown and dies. Perhaps you can come up with lovely compliments for your plant, or select a simple word or phrase to affix to its pot;
Put together a Plant Play-List. Other studies suggest that exposing plants to classical or jazz music for up to 3 hours a day can stimulate plant growth.
Photograph your plant occasionally to document its growth and “most magnificent moments” or enjoy drawing/painting a plant portrait.
Spring is just around the corner… but now is a wonderful time to bring a bit of the outside in!
Montessori, Maria (1967). The Discovery of the Child, The Random House Publishing Group, New York, NY, p. 71.
Ibid. p. p.71.