Family Life Greener Living

This is the Way We Walk to School

I posted a couple of weeks ago about Tee’s first day of preschool. It’s mid-September now, and she’s just starting to settle in to her new routine. We try to keep our home and family life healthy and environmentally responsible, but how do we extend that philosophy outside of our home? How do we maintain our green living and natural parenting principles when our daughter leaves the sheltered environment of our home and goes to school?

This is the Way We Walk to School | This West Coast Mommy

This is the way we walk to school, walk to school, walk to school,
This is the way we walk to school, so early in the morning!

To start with, we chose a Montessori preschool, in large part because Montessori educational practices are based on an understanding of children’s innate desire to learn and drive for self-direction. The cornerstone of the Montessori philosophy is respect for the child. Learning goals and activities are driven by the child’s interests and developmental readiness.

While Dr. Montessori lived before terms like “natural parenting” and “green living” became trendy, her writings reveal her deep respect for children’s natural development and for nature. She recommended that children’s learning needs be met when possible by going out into the natural world rather than being pent up inside a classroom. Montessori classrooms prefer to use natural materials like real wood, bamboo, metal, glass, and cotton over plastic or other synthetics. The local Montessori programs I’ve visited have all emphasized humans’ interdependence with our environment as well as each other, and they include environmental studies in their curricula.

I’ve mentioned before that my family is lucky enough to live in an area with several family farms nearby. We buy local, no spray fruit and veggies for Tee to take to school for her snack. Of course, we pack those snacks in stainless steel containers and reusable cloth snack bags. At her school, snack is shared amongst all the kids which means sometimes she gets foods I wouldn’t normally pick for her. I supervise her diet the rest of the time, so I’m not too worried about that in the grand scheme of things. Tee is learning to share and make friends with other kids. It’s also an opportunity for her to learn about making food choices.

The best part is that Tee’s preschool is within walking distance, so I pop Kay into the baby carrier and we walk, rain or shine, to drop her off and pick her up. Not only is this a great opportunity for Tee to get to know her neighbourhood and practice life skills like crossing the street safely, but we also get to bird watch and check out how the leaves are starting to change colours. And on the way home, we get to reconnect and talk about what happened school that day. I make two round trips every day she’s in school so it’s also great exercise for me!

All in all, I’m very excited about this next step in our parenting journey. The world gets bigger, but our values remain steadfast.

Your turn now. How do you extend your values into your child’s (or your own) classroom?

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  • This is so sweet. I have heard a few things about Montessori methods. My son is 17 months now. We plan on homeschooling. We like the idea of being able to establish faith, life skills and a more hands on, interactive environment and letting him learn as fast or slow as he needs to. I’ll hopefully still be blogging then to write about our journey. I’ll actually be posting some things about ways I interact with him and teach him things daily soon on my blog so I’m excited! I love your “natural parenting” and ecofriendly ideas. So glad I found your blog 🙂

    • Thanks Brittnei! We thought about homeschooling, but I’m just not up for it. Montessori is a decent compromise for us. I’ll have to come by and find out about what you’re doing with your son. 🙂

  • our school is within walking distance but we havent walked as much as i would like to yet because there is so much construction and construction workers out right now. Hopefully we can start walking once they are finished.

  • What an exciting time, to set out on the school journey! It’s so nice for you to be able to walk to school with your children. We are only 3 miles from school but most of that is pretty dangerous; our solution is to share the commute with a few (up to four!) families in our neighbourhood.

  • That is amazing that you have so many no spray family farms close to where you live! And I love that you get to walk to school. That would be amazing. You’re kids are lucky to grow up in an environment like that!!

    • Yeah, they follow what we would consider organic farming practices. They just can’t afford the inspection/processing fees to be able to call it organic.

  • I particularly enjoyed this post because whereas my son’s preschool worked well when he was younger (he’s now 3 but has been in school since he was 7 months old because circumstances have necessitated that I work outside the home), I’m having more concerns about it now. They do outdoor play time, but there’s no dirt or sand to dig in… mostly cement and a little grass, and more and more I’m feeling like he needs new environments to explore. My other concern is that with the teacher to student ratio and the personality of his new teacher, he’s not getting the personalized attention that he needs. We’re still figuring out how we will resolve this, but I appreciated reading about your experience.

    • Thanks, Jennifer. A sandbox isn’t that hard to build – maybe a handy parent could help them out? Your other concerns sound more serious though. I hope you’re able to work something out for your family.

  • Montessori pre-schools are great! While there isn’t one in our area, I went to one and loved it. My daughter goes to a small, private elementary school which is clear across town. It’s a 20 minute drive, so we can’t walk. I wish we could!

  • Great post! Love the idea of using your daily walk as bonding time, as well as, learning life skills. Also, love the baby wearing while you walk your daughter to school!

  • My daughter was in Montessori preschool for a year. After that we had to take her out because it was out of our budget and a tad too expensive. She did love it though!

    We don’t walk to school, but we do walk to the bus stop. Your picture reminded me of how I was walking with my neighbor (he also wears his baby) and I felt everyone around us thought we were some baby wearing gang. 🙂

  • My dd is too young for preschool, but I love that you walk her there and carry your other little in a baby carrier! Reusable lunch products are great, and I plan to send them with her when she starts school. We use them already for daytrips.

  • Great photo, great post! I always enjoy reading about peoples experiences (and reasons for choosing) with Montessori schools.

    Tee looks so tiny here too, cute!