The New and Improved Nature Center

I have resisted the purchase of more shelving for the learning room for some time now thinking “surely, I can make this fit somehow!” I have not been happy however with my Nature Shelf. We used to be able to fit on one shelf – one shelf! Then, I expanded over the summer to 4 shelves. It still wasn’t working. It looked cluttered, and I couldn’t set up our focused nature study like I wanted to. I’ve been trying and trying to come up with a solution all year!

I finally decided on another set of shoe organizer shelves from Target. They’re actually for a closet organizer system and I discovered them when I was looking for something shallow and fairly inexpensive for my Montessori materials. They have been working perfectly for me Montessori-wise, so I bought 3 more sets for a total of $30 to use as my nature center. Why did I resist for so long? They work perfectly there, providing easy access to nature study materials and a nice visual presentation in the room!

This semester we are studying Botany as part of our broader classification studies. So all of plant life and the plant world is fair game! I set up some of my most delicious books for inspiration – The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady is always open to the month at hand for inspiration in nature sketching. It inspires me anyway!

Our studies are anchored on the set of Botany Nomenclature Cards from Montessori For Everyone. We’d love the Botany cabinet, but the 3 part cards fit into our budget better this year, and they have been working fine! We also used the plant kingdom charts to help us with the big picture as we began our studies.

Then, I round out with all of the delicious books I have on my shelves! Plenty of wonderful rabbit trails spring from this study and our reading! I’m going to add a list of all of the wonderful Plant Kingdom/Botany books in my left sidebar today. How depressing that blogger won’t let me capture the enticing book covers from Amazon. But, if you’re interested in what we’re reading – the list will be over there.

And finally, our nature studies this winter had to include a lovely basket of our favorite bird watching supplies.

Nanny and Papa bought the Bird Identiflyer with several accompanying cards for the kids for Christmas. What a wonderful gift. They’ve been quizzing each other by playing the bird call, and guessing the bird. Several new calls have been memorized, and it has really enhanced our bird identification as we never listened to identify the birds before. I had to set up a basket for them! I keep it near the window in the learning room where the cardinals and chickadee’s love to sit and eat their seed.

I’m anxiously awaiting my copy of Backyard Birds of Winter and Discover Nature In Winter to round out our winter nature study theme. Of course, the Bird Identiflyer isn’t the only thing around here really drawing us back to the birds. Take a look at what my husband has been working on since the summer…

Our new Mary pond and waterfall is located right outside our kitchen window. In the spring, with the windows open we’ll be able to hear the sound of the waterfall. In the winter, it has drawn the birds to us. It has made for great winter nature study right from our kitchen windows! We’ll do some landscaping and naturalizing around the pond this spring, but for now it is such a lovely addition to the sleeping garden!

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