Sensorial :: Observing Nature

As we roll into the Fall season, my youngest son and I have found ourselves in a bit of a different situation than last year. This year, my eldest is trying out 2nd grade….and loving it.

Initially, this seemed like a sad time for me…and then I realized that my youngest son and I would have a chance to explore his world. The world where he gets to voice the first and only opinion. An opportunity to follow his own path, without regard to his brother’s wishes or agreement.

I began observing – truly observinghis wants and his needs. The first order of business: to nourish a sense of wonder with regards to the outside world. His interests are strong in that regard and I want him to grow curious and thoughtful when thinking about his life experiences on Earth. One of the main areas of Dr. Montessori’s educational method concerns the senses and it is a very important area for a three-and four-year-old. The Sensorial activities capitalize on the child’s natural ability to explore his world through the five senses.

Swallowtail caterpillars - July 2013

Swallowtail caterpillars – July 2013

We were lucky enough to find such a sense of wonder in our front yard. We have a potted plant – cutting celery – that is apparently close enough to the typical Black Swallowtail host plant (those being mostly herbs).

The kids (and adults) were all fascinated. We enjoyed playing host for these creatures. As soon as they devoured the plant (which took only a few days), they were off to another plant and their next developmental stage.


Since I was open to observing and listening to my youngest son’s needs, I was especially attentive when he mentioned that we should get more fish for our little aquarium. (At present, it has homemade paper fish – my favorite kind).

He was obviously yearning for more real-life observations and when a gifted jarful of tadpoles came our way yesterday, of course, we accepted. While the gift was given to the eldest son, it has been the youngest one who has paid the most attention and gotten lost – staring – at these fascinating creatures.


“It is true that man has created enjoyments in social life and has brought about a vigorous human love in community life. But nevertheless, he still belongs to nature, and especially, when he is a child, he must needs draw from it the forces necessary to the development of the body and of the spirit.”         – Maria Montessori in The Montessori Method