Family life, Montessori philosophy, Nature

Monarchs & Montessori

ImageThe name “Milkweed & Montessori” is meant to reflect the spirit of our family’s intention to bring both nature and Maria Montessori’s ideas into our daily life (but it just as often serves to remind us to live that way).

These days, I’ve got milkweed plants on my mind more than ever because tiny purple buds are starting to form between those great big leaves, and soon they’ll be in full, dusky bloom (as they were in the photo above, taken last July).

This year we’re particularly excited about our growing butterfly garden project, because it’s official: our yard is a Monarch Waystation! The Monarch Waystation is a designation granted by Monarch Watch, a US organization interested in supporting the habitat of monarch butterflies. We had to register our garden’s size and the variety of milkweed and other nectar plants we grow, as well as commit to using environmentally-friendly (hello, rain barrels!) and pesticide-free gardening practices.

ImageThe sign is a charming little educational tool, too, which we hope will help our neighbours understand why our front yard looks so… unmown.

Our focus on attracting pollinators has made us very aware when we do see them visiting our yard, and has given us opportunity to share the excitement with Jasper. He’ll often call “There it is!” in his sing-song way, pointing out a flitting cabbage white.

ImageThese days, he’s all about the book I Am a Bunny. Admittedly, it does feature a bunny as narrator, but the illustrations (by Richard Scarry in his pre-Little Town days) are wonderfully realistic, and the butterfly page is worth lingering over. David can name so many so them!

As our garden grows, I look forward to seeing more life spring from it, and more butterflies stopping in. And as Jasper grows, I look forward to exploring this corner of our yard with him, and engaging him with butterfly-related works.

Here’s a few examples of Montessori-inspired Monarch butterfly work:

This handmade felted Montessori life-cycle is very sweet.

Earlier this week, Deb at Living Montessori Now featured a whole page of life cycle activities.

Beth from Our Montessori Life showed a Monarch life-cycle matching set on her Instagram feed a few months back. Which, if you’re not already following, do that while you’re there. Her photos capture the simplicity and peacefulness that make me love the Montessori method.

Puzzleheads sells this Monarch butterfly nomenclature puzzle, which includes caterpillar phase.

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6 thoughts on “Monarchs & Montessori

  1. What a wonderful post Meghan. Thank you for mentioning me. I am vey interested in your part in the Butterfly Waystation project. I hope you will give updates. Attracting helpful insects to your outdoor space is one of the easiest and most important things people can do to improve the environment.

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  2. Victoria says:

    I’ve been reading over your recent posts and feel so inspired. Everything that I have read so far screams “slow down!” Its really such a simple idea that most forget in our busy lives. I especially loved how you wrote about your son drying off the watermelon and catching all the drops.
    Your honesty about having a second child is refreshing and I hope to see more posts about how life has changed with the new member. I have a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old so I feel like I’m constantly rushing to meet a need. I wrote in bold letters on my calendar “slow down” and left a paint brush out for some water painting tomorrow. Thank you for writing this blog. 🙂

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    • Victoria, I can’t tell you how much this comment has meant to me. I read it aloud to my husband who said “It’s like you left an encouraging note to yourself. It’s just what you need to hear.” So thank you for your kind words, and for reminding me to slow down, too. 🙂

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