Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning opportunities involving as many senses as possible made the most impact on youngsters memories. Current research in brain theory confirms her observations. Smart Start put it into practice in mid-September with a trip to Willowgrove orchards.
The “banana” bus bounced slightly as it slowly drove up the driveway to the farm. Leaders greeted the children. The wagon ride brought us to the 1,000 tree orchard. Each tree low enough that the children could pick the apples without adult assistance. After a brief explanation about the variety of apples and how to pick them (eye to the sky), the children successfully picked two Cortlands each: one for school, one for them. N. twisted and removed her apple while, K. quickly polished his to a bright shine. Later, A. and V. savoured the tangy sweet taste of their apples at snack time.
Switching to a new location, the children learned that apples would not form without the help of an insect: honey bees! Here enlarged images of the creatures were posted on the wall. The leader invited the children to come forward to play the roles of queen, nurse, guards and workers. What an experience!
Sight, scent, sound, touch and taste rounded out this fully sensorial event for the youngsters of Smart Start Montessori.