Nurture and Nature, by Charlotte Kroger

The environment is nurture; the child in his raw form is nature.

Outside my bedroom windows, along the back property line where my neighbor’s yard begins, I can see the four cherry laurel trees we planted a few years ago. Three of them are flourishing – getting tall and treelike – while the fourth is not doing so well. It is not as tall as the others and is skimpy in canopy. It’s not its fault. When we planted these trees we were not terribly discerning about the location. The gardener helping us said that the laurels should do well whether in sun or shade. So we planted them in an offset row across the back of our yard to serve as screening. We hadn’t taken into account the future growth of all the surrounding trees that now cast that part of the yard into deep shade, where the fourth laurel lives.

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The trees came with ‘instructions’ – hidden potential with everything needed to become cherry laurels we could one day count on to screen the back of our property. But the environment in which they grow varied enough that one of four has not lived up to its potential of tree shading. Continue reading

HBMH Summer Camp 6: Natural, Environmentlly-Friendly Art

Our primary friends are thoroughly enjoying this week’s new Summer Camp 6 theme “Discovering and Creating Natural Art Projects: Good Earth Art“. Several friends are using their creativity to make natural art by incorporating items such as rocks, leaves, sticks, and other environmental resources. Our hope is that they will learn to recycle and use natural materials for art, while developing an awareness of the environment and a caring attitude towards the earth.

Our camp themes were designed to feature creative hands-on activities that build skills, bodies, and excitement. We offer an environment that fits the needs and interests of all our children, incorporating Montessori principles that foster independence and freedom with responsibility. I’m hoping to update our blog all summer long to show the children as they progress through the different themes.
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Nature collages made with items found in our outdoor environmentGood Earth Art_10Hand-made stained glass mobiles created from twigs, leaves, grass, flowers and other items gathered from outside. Of course, these were gathered after they had fallen to the ground and were no longer a part of the plant/tree. Remember, nature stays in nature!
Good Earth Art_8Good Earth Art_9Natural “ice paint” art! We added a few drops of paint to an ice cube tray, placed popsicle sticks into each ice cube and put in the freezer overnight. The results were pretty cool! (pun intended) 
Good Earth Art_3Good Earth Art_1Good Earth Art_4Leaf tracing was a great way to draw and compare leaves to the ones found outside.
Good Earth Art_5Sand was also incorporated into many of our art projects. The children absolutely love working with sand as it stimulates their senses in several different ways; touching the soft grains and manipulating different shapes, they’re able to challenge their visual senses as they dig for shells in the sensorial discovery box, or even just enjoying the sound of the soft grains sifting through their fingers. Using glue and sand, we created nature scenes, including flowers, trees, sunshine, and so forth. 
Good Earth Art_2Good Earth Art_6Next week we will be exploring “art appreciation” and discovering new, great artists…stay tuned for updates!