Introducing naturetot

Your Casa Montessori environment will never be the same

Give children the benefits of real nature in your morning work period and create a happy children's community connected to nature.

Nature-based Learning

Start a life cycle in your morning work period

The child touches and smells soil, observes wet and dry, notices growth and decay, follows sequence and order in repeatable practical life exercises. Free access to worms, soil, plants, seeds, harvesting, growing, and more creates depth of learning, from the most basic practical life exercises to a comprehensive understanding of inter-dependencies in nature.

Designed, built, and tested by AMI Montessori guides

Committed and passionate, bringing you the best we can offer.

NatureTot empowers you to bridge the gap between nature and the urban child while enhancing the essence of your Casa Montessori prepared environment.

The NatureTot System is an aid for the Casa guide to provide independent and spontaneous indoor access to nature in the morning work period.

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A Montessori classroom with the three cabinets of the NatureTot Classroom System

Accessible nature

The young child needs real, meaningful, and hands-on experiences with nature.

Busy educators, working families, lack of tools, lack of resources. It’s hard to give the young child real experiences of nature in an urban society.

But every Montessori guide knows that offering the child experiences with real objects is key to their learning, helping them later to understand abstract ideas. The child under six is particularly vulnerable to a lack of access to nature, at a time when it matters most.

  • When the activity of the young child shapes the future adult.
  • When the world needs those who understand the interdependence of all life.
The NatureTot System

Do your children have free access to nature in the morning work period?

"Children indeed love flowers, but they need to do something more than remain among them and contemplate their coloured blossoms. They find their greatest pleasure in acting, in knowing, in exploring, even apart from the attraction of external beauty. "
~Maria Montessori

Prepared Environment

Integrating nature in your Montessori classroom is surprisingly easy.

Your children will be deeply happy, busy and focused while learning important life skills, developing empathy and connection with nature.

“The exercises, which children do, help their adaptation to the environment. Their first adaptation to the environment is to become conscious of it. To become conscious, they need to acquire knowledge. Children acquire knowledge through experience in the environment.”
~Maria Montessori

Here’s what makes the NatureTot System great…

  • Real nature

    Nature makes people happy. Experience leads to familiarity. Hands-on develops understanding.

  • Set up for independence

    The young child learns by doing; not by words alone. A personal experience of nature.

  • In the work period

    Enables the young child to absorb the essence of sustainable living like never before.

  • Primary child development

    Spanning from basic practical life exercises to concepts in grace, science, math, ecology....

  • Work is the child's

    The educator is guide & observer. The children's community maintains the cycle.

  • Quick-growing sessions

    Observable changes & consequences develop confidence & responsibility.

  • Embedded purpose

    Every single exercise and participant provides for another, creating real value.

  • A nature community

    Contributions of nature-based work form a sense of place & self within a community.

Montessori Exercises

Introducing the NatureTot System

The NatureTot System helps the Montessori guide easily integrate simple, accessible life cycles of planting, harvesting and decomposing within their casa classroom.

Carefully designed practical-life extensions ensure that natural processes are maintained by the children’s community in the morning work period, largely independent of the guiding adults.

A variety of exercises means each child has freely chosen work suited to their developmental needs while contributing to the bigger work.

Child, plant, and worm each play vital roles in the give-and-take of nature. This interdependence embeds purpose within every activity.

A short growing period creates a window of time the young child will experience and remember.

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Three NatureTot System Cabinets in a Montessori classroom.
A young girl focuses on pouring water from a tray
A guide is surrounded by curious children, looking at the composting worms.

In Classrooms

What others are saying

Most striking to me as an educator was the children were the doers while I was an observer. I have done gardening many times but it requires lots of work from an educator, from the set up all the way to the follow up. The part that children were doing was very little, even though I wanted to encourage more of their work and diminish my part. NatureTot somehow encouraged children to do it on their own or as a team, making it very unique and which I’ve never seen before in other programs. Once NatureTot was set up, the adults, guides, and assistants became observers, literally acting as guides, and just a little bit of coaching, pairing, or encouragement that was all that was needed from the guide.

Julia Kim
AMI Casa Guide
A tendril of a pea microgreen curls above the leaves

The NatureTot program [is a bridge between practical life and science]. It is a beautiful, purposeful extension of practical life and biology, science and even character education, all in one…The NatureTot system just naturally brought every single important element from each area of the classroom into one...It provided children with a field to utilize everything skill they had and to perform these with [purpose].

Julia Kim
AMI Casa Guide

I have been a Montessori educator for 7 years and have always struggled to bring more nature and a greater understanding of nature into my classroom. Children adore nature and its processes. It is innately fascinating to them, and they love to get their hands in everything and get dirty.

Mari Glynn Morris
AMI Casa Guide

The NatureTot system was a huge success in our preschool class. It was amazing to see how the children responded. They loved growing the sprouts, harvesting them, and serving them to each other. Learning to look after the worms helped them to understand responsibility and compassion in caring for living beings. I would highly recommend this program for any classroom!

Laurie Parker
AMI Casa Guide

The child needs concrete experiences of nature. They also need concrete experiences of simple life cycles in which they are a key player, where the child chooses the role they will play, the work they will contribute, and the results they will share.

Leet Mueller
CEO & Founder

I think it is brilliant.

Eline Huisken
AMI Casa Guide

All my child wants for his lunch now is microgreens.

A Montessori Parent

I really liked the practicality. There is so much focus on the care, as well as the way things are connected…The child experiences the simple circle of life. It is important to understand sustainability and being able to sustain ourselves and our planet.

Michelle Leach
Montessori Parent, Board Member
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  • A picture of a woman near a lake and mountain
  • With my observations as a Montessori educator and a childhood based in the wilderness of Canada as my foundation, I set out to create a system that could remove barriers to real nature for the young child and aid the Montessori educator who experiences limitations in outdoor space, time or material. Now that it’s in classrooms, I can confidently say it’s far more profound and integrates more deeply with Montessori’s vision of education than I ever imagined. Practical life meets science, and a hands-on understanding of the natural world is developed. A nature-based community emerges that values the work of each member, from soil, to worm, to plant, to child. The Montessori educator using the NatureTot System has the potential to transform nature education for the young child in a society often far-removed from nature.

    Leet Mueller

    Founder of NatureTot

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