Mitwitz- how does bark smell?? What is a natural cycle? Exciting questions that will no longer be answered in theory at the montessori school in mitwitz. This is where "exploratory learning" becomes a reality fixed part of the curriculum. For about two and a half hours a day, the children will get to know and understand nature as a learning environment, but also as a playground.
The advantages are obvious, explains pedagogical director mathias schmitt: "holistic learning, the chance to learn with the highest level of concentration through the offered quiet rooms in nature, a strengthening of the learning group community and a fundamentally differentiated learning situation."
Organizationally, starting next school year, mixed learning groups will emerge from grade mixes one through four and seven and eight. The plan is to introduce this concept for all grades in the foreseeable future. In this way, nature becomes a daily part of learning and the classroom is no longer seen as an exception.
The newly acquired house in mitwitz in burgstaller weg serves as a base for the new nature learning groups, offering quick access to the school’s grounds and thus to the nearby meadows and forests. This will be done in the course of the "erdkinderplan" renovated and expanded into a nature education center by grade seven and eight students.
The concept includes sponsorships for cross-grade work. Schmitt: "our new nature education center offers the possibility for a weekly free work period. Here, the seventh and eighth grade students act as learning companions and take on a sponsorship role."
Nature as a learning and playing space
Gudrun jersch-bittermann explains the aims of this nature-based approach to learning as follows: "the aim is to sharpen children’s and young people’s empathy for small and large animals and for plants. They should learn to take care of the environment and to protect living beings. This is how environmental awareness can be intensified and deepened in the long term." Schmitt adds: "in addition to digitalization, bringing nature closer as a place to learn and play is one of the greatest challenges of our time." As an "enrichment of the educational landscape" and "something very special" mayor hans-peter laschka sees the new montessori concept of nature learning groups. He appreciates the synergy effects: "you are already cooking for our nursery with high-quality food. In addition, many students from the surrounding counties visit the school. This makes the mitwitz market well-known and attractive. And if they go now again different ways and something new anstoben, then I am pleased uber the engagement."