Magazine article Montessori Life

The Joy of Winter

Magazine article Montessori Life

The Joy of Winter

Article excerpt

As Montessori teachers we strive to utilize the resources around us to enhance the learning experience. Perhaps the greatest resources we have are the seasons of the year in our communities.

Fargo, ND, is a prairie town, located in the Red River Valley, just south of Canada. It is one of the flattest parts of the United States, so there is always a risk of the Red River flooding, but you can see for miles in any direction. The winter months are cold and windy, with an abundance of snow. The coldest month in Fargo is January, with an average overnight temperature of -23 degrees Fahrenheit.

For this article, I interviewed Darcy Leysring, a 6-9 teacher and curriculum coordinator at Dakota Montessori School in Fargo. I wondered how the winter season affects children's learning at school, and how teachers plan for outdoor activities when snow is a distinct possibility anytime between September and May.

"The first snowfall begins the yearly welcome of winter," Darcy notes. "The children, toddlers through upper elementary, will rush to the windows and then announce with great enthusiasm, 'It is snowing!' Embracing the season begins as young students in our infant through early elementary sections start the practical living skills of everyday winter life, donning snow pants, winter jackets, hats, boots, mittens, and scarves to prepare to venture out into the wonderland of white."

The general "rule" for going outside is guided by the zero-degree mark at the beginning of winter. As the season progresses, the wind chill or "real feel" of the air temperature becomes the guide. "As the children's bodies acclimate to the cold," Darcy explains, "the cooler temperature begins to feel warmer than at the beginning of the season. This simple element provides students with a basis for scientific research questions, including acclimatization, wind-chill factor, and fabrics that provide the best insulation in the winter."

Darcy's stories struck a chord with me. Growing up in neighboring Minnesota, I visited many relatives who lived on the Great Plains. Though I never attended a Montessori school, I have fond memories of bringing my ice skates to school for recess and making snow landscape pictures with blue construction paper and white paste.

"Infants and toddlers enjoy footprints created by their tiny boots as well as sled rides," Darcy continues. "Quickly they discover that snow is cold to the fingers and toes if winter gear is removed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.