Montessori is about exploring the natural environment and enriching the child with universal experiences. When learning about farm animals and their families, going on a trip to the local farm is the perfect opportunity for the child to explore and see where the farm animals are raised as well as their habitats. This will not only reinforce the child’s knowledge about the environment in which the farm animals live in but also gives a chance for parents to discuss with the child the names of the different types of animals the farmers take care off as well as the animal family names.
In the Montessori setting, the knowledge and understanding of the world area allow the children to discover the various types of farm animals, their families and habitats through sorting toy figures of farm animals into their corresponding habitats, puzzles as well as learning the names of the animal families. An extension activity that can be done at home as well as in the classroom can be creating farm animals during arts and crafts, singing songs about farm animals such as ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ etc., reading books on farmyard animals and watching short educational documentaries on where the farm animals live.
When teaching the child about the animal families in the Montessori classroom, the teacher firstly invites the child to take the animals out of the basket. The child then starts to group the animals into families with help from the teacher if necessary. The teacher will then ask the child if he/ she knows the animals in the families. The child will then choose one family and the teacher tells the child something about each member for example ‘this is the mother pig, she is called a sow. She has teats on her tummy where the baby pigs called piglets can suck milk’. When the child has finished looking at and talking about the animals, the teacher will then ask the child if they wish to look at another family. When the child is finished, he/ she will put the animals back in the basket and return them to the shelf.
Objectives when teaching the child about the farm animals and their families: 1) To make the child aware of families of farmyard animals 2) To extend the child’s knowledge of the natural environment 3) To extend the child’s powers of observation 4) To expand the child’s vocabulary
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” - Maria Montessori -