Last week Julissa and I visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens Orchid Show. It was a grand experience touching our senses in so many wonderful ways. The fragrance, the colors, the textures, the arrangements... Every step we took we were surrounded by beauty. As you enter this amazing space there is a sign that reads: "For more than 100 million years, orchids have evolved in ways that set them apart in the plant kingdom. In this orchid show, we look at the colors and "intelligence" of orchids in all their brilliance." This truly captures the essence of what you will experience throughout the exhibit.
The study of nature and botanics is pivotal work which links all cornerstones of the Montessori environment from toddlerhood through elementary and middle school--first as a sensorial experience and, later as an in-depth research into the function and parts of flowers themselves. And, the appeal of flowers is universal--for centuries flowers have marked important milestones in our daily lives; expressed feelings of love, gratitude or sadness; or been admired as an appreciation of natural beauty.
Flowers and plants are such an important part of the Montessori classroom and caring for them can also be practiced at home. Arranging and caring for flowers is great fun and is a classic exercise in our practical life activities where children can learn a lot:
And these practical skills are deepened in this beautiful activity, such as:
So remember, the Chicago Botanic Gardens is the perfect winter 'get-away' for the senses. Brilliance is the theme for this year's Orchid show and their team created a new take on the ravishing colors of orchids. The modern art pieces showcase more than 10,000 orchids in bloom! It is a great 'family' place to go to discover the power of nature year-round. And, check out all of the other wonderful family resources they have to offer while you are there!
Debra Trude-Suter, PhD, Executive Director
Chief Education Officer