Look around a Montessori classroom, and you will find lots and lots of plants. Plants make up an important part of the indoor environment and not only provide an opportunity for children to care for their environment, but also provide a calm, relaxing atmosphere, clean and purify the air children breathe. Plants kept indoors even enhance productivity, according to Norwegian studies of worker productivity and the presence of plants kept in work spaces. Other studies, including one from the University of Michigan, show that simply being around plants improves memory, concentration, and productivity for children and adults alike. On top of it all, they are beautiful to behold, and enhance the appearance of a classroom.
They also provide a little privacy! Here, a child reads to himself within the comfy shelter of some big green leaves.
Within the primary and elementary classrooms, there is also the important lesson of caring for the environment. Children are shown how to dust leaves, remove dead leaves, water, and otherwise care for the plants within their classroom. There is also the flower arranging lesson, to be covered in a future blog post. The flowers below were picked from one of Villa di Maria’s own fall gardens.
The thought and care that goes into each Montessori classroom continues to amaze and inspire. If you’d like to introduce some plants into your child’s home environment, here is a list of easy-to-care for varieties:
- Succulents (a jade plant is a wonderful slow-growing plant that thrives in bright light with little water, and a snake plant, also in the succulent family, grows more quickly)
- Spider Plant (which does well in medium to bright light and likes to be kept moist)
- Rubber Plant (grows quickly and enjoys medium to bright light)
- Peace Lily (favors low light)
- Philodendron (there are many varieties, most prefer indirect light)
- Tradescantia (which has beautiful purple leaves – requires brighter light to maintain its color)
- Norfolk Island Pine (shown above, which has a lovely soft texture and can grow quite large – up to 10 feet tall indoors!)