We spent the first day of Autumn prepping outer kitchen garden for some early Autumn growth. This is my first time ‘overwintering’ crops so I’m excited to see how they turn out, though seeing as I’ll have a new baby by harvest time!
We planted onions, garlic and shallots which were all recommended for autumn planting.
Planting garlic turned out to be a goldmine of sensory play opportunities! Alfie enjoyed scrunching up the skins, fluffing the roots, sniffing the bulbs and stroking the smooth cloves. He enjoyed tasting them slightly less! While he could separate the cloves he could sort the skin and cloves into two bowls.
Next I measured out where the bulbs would go, the chalk and wood gave Alfie a brilliant opportunity for mark making and experimenting. Fred laughed at how precisely I did this part but I’m taking no chances! Killing plants is one of my strongest skills so everything I did was according to professional advice!
Next we planted our sets, I made the holes and Alfie popped some bulbs into them which really surprised me as I’d assumed theirs would be too hard for him. He wasn’t quite so good at covering them up but did some great soil tossing instead!
A note on Sensory Play and Montessori
Offering sensory trays or creating opportunities for sensory play isn’t a Montessori objective (though I don’t think it contradicts the philosophy as a whole). Instead Montessori encourages allowing a child to discover sensory experience in real life and planting turned out to be a perfect example of authentic sensory play.
Our afternoon in the garden was a good reminder that a child is capable of seeking out opportunities for learning and exploration without an adult directing their interests. When you think about the garden like a child there is so much to see, smell, hear, taste and touch. I expected gross and fine motor work but instead Alfie focused on the sensory aspects.
Normally I worry about the dirt of these activities but from now on he will be getting down in the dirt!