Chickens are one way Montessori Erdkinder develops the hands, body and mind. Learning what chickens eat, what they need to lay eggs and what chickens need for a healthy environment creates a stronger mind and body in the child. It’s simply amazing to witness.
We’ve had our chickens for a few years now and they’ve brought a special something to our farm and the kid’s homeschool or Erdkinder. They have provided hands on learning opportunities that truly reach the hands, body and mind. There is something spiritual about walking into a coop and removing freshly laid eggs, still warm. This is life. The messy, in stereo, sight, sounds and scents of real life.
I have came to understand why Maria Montessori believed children should go to Erdkinder.
The hens, or girls, will be cluckin’ away and you’ll hear a call or two from one of the roosters. You may suddenly hear the louder ‘baa-kock!’ which is one of the hens laying her egg, which always make me think of a woman giving birth and those last few moments when the room suddenly has a surge of energy as the baby begins to crown. You hear the scratch, scratch as they stir up their bedding looking for wee bugs to snack on and you hear the ruffling of feathers as someone settles down or gets up.
As I’ve watched the chickens settle down to lay or hearing a rooster calls his harem over for a juicy worm or bug he’s found for them I have came to understand why Maria Montessori believed children should go to Erdkinder. A set of puzzles or 3part cards is as abstract as they come. You’re dealing with paper or wood for a living things. It’s almost backwards. Sure, you can learn body locations and that they need food, water, etc. But all those years leading up to Erdkinder are prep work…not the real thing.
I can only encourage you to continue following your child. This doesn’t mean you need a certain color or even certain materials…it means following your child. See what your child needs and providing it. Making sure they can access it in some way. But make an effort to follow your child as they grow up. You’ll find Montessori’s recommendation to “follow the child” isn’t just for children. It’s also for preteens and teens.
Follow the child, see where they go and what they grow up to be.