The Table of the Seasons to create a link with Nature
Have you ever heard of the table of seasons? It is a corner of the house dedicated to nature and the cyclical passage of time to introduce children to the unique characteristics of each moment of the year and to stimulate their curiosity and interest.
In this article, we decided to explore the topic together, with a particular emphasis on its use in pedagogy Waldorf and Reggio Emilia, without forgetting some tips for setting up your space!
The Table, or Corner, of the seasons is a table decorated with objects that represent the seasons of the year. Generally, it is placed in a central area of the house, or of a classroom, so that it can be seen, touched and experienced by all the children. It is used in a variety of educational approaches to help children connect with the natural world, develop their curiosity and creativity, and acquire new knowledge and skills. It is the place dedicated to the treasures of nature found during walks, where you can keep the memories of your adventures and discover the elements of each season.
In this collection you can find many materials to compose your Table of the Seasons. But let's see better what it is.
According to Waldorf Pedagogy
In the Waldorf pedagogy, the seasons table is used to help children develop a connection with nature and its rhythm: each season has a unique energy and table is set up to reflect it.
In autumn, the table could be decorated with dry leaves, chestnuts and pumpkins, while in winter it could be adorned with objects such as ice crystals, pine cones, fir branches and lanterns.
We also use colors which cyclically characterize the different seasons: blue and white represent winter, green represents spring, yellow represents summer and orange and red represent autumn.
The use of colors in the Waldorf table is linked to the theory of anthroposophy, which underlines the importance of colors in stimulating the imagination and in energy balance. According to this theory, colors influence our state of mind, our emotions and our physical and mental well-being. Our Play Sheets are perfect for creating chromatic harmony. Click here to discover them all.
According to the Reggio Emilia Pedagogy
In pedagogy Reggio Emilia, the table of seasons is used as an exhibition space to show children's work and to document the changing seasons: children can create works of art that show the nature they see and experience during each season and display them on the table. In this way, they can see their work represented in the larger context of the cycle of the seasons.
Furthermore, the table of seasons can also serve as a starting point for exploring, knowing and discovering firsthand; children can come into contact with the cycles of life, the characteristics of plants and animals and human activities that occur in each season. By doing so, it also becomes a space to introduce new words and concepts related to the seasons.
The table of seasons is a tool to encourage research and investigation: children are invited to ask questions about the seasons, to explore the objects on the table and to seek answers to their questions through the 'observation and the experiment.
In both approaches, the Seasons Table is a way to help children develop a connection with the natural world and to encourage creative exploration; promotes curiosity, as well as a deeper connection with nature and the world around us; it is a meaningful experience for children to help them develop their cognitive, motor, social and emotional skills.
According to Montessori and Piklerpedagogies
In contrast, in the Montessori method the seasons table is often used as part of a sensory activity where children can explore and manipulate natural objects associated with the different seasons of the year.
When present, the table of seasons becomes a tool to introduce children to the notions of time, the season, holidays and cultural traditions, rather than a method to connect them with nature.
This is also the case in Emmi Pikler's childhood pedagogy, where it is used as a space where children can play with natural objects and experiment with different materials.
In these approaches, the emphasis is on autonomy and on the child's exploration in relation to materials.
Benefits of the Table of Seasons
So what are its benefits?
Connection with nature
The seasons table can help children develop a connection with nature, as it encourages them to explore the natural elements and observe the cyclical changes of the seasons, also leading to greater awareness and respect for the environment around us surrounds.
The seasons table can offer an opportunity to stimulate children's creativity: they can create decorations and add objects they find in nature, using their imagination to create a setting that represents the season.
The Seasons Table can provide an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning, such as connections to art, science, geography, history and culture. Children will learn to identify the distinctive characteristics of each season and the activities, both man-made and natural, that take place at any time of year.
Focus and attention
The table of seasons can help children develop their observation skills, the elements on the table will be an invitation to discover. What are the secrets they hide? How they are made?
The table of seasons offers an opportunity to promote the independence of children, who are invited to contribute to the set-up by choosing objects and decorations to add. Leave trays and containers to help the child keep the space tidy (we, temptresses, recommend the beautiful tray with dividers tinker tray by Grapat).
Setting up a Seasons Table
Thesetting up of a table of the seasons is a creative and fun activity: every corner can (and must!) vary according to personal preferences and the resources available, but we leave you with some advice to help you organize your corner of the seasons.
- Choose a suitable place where children can easily see the objects and interact with them. A quiet, well-lit area of the house will be the ideal place.
- Inspired by Waldorf pedagogy, decorate the surface with a fabric, you can choose a color that represents the current season. For example, this Forest-themed Play Sheet is perfect for spring!
- Add natural objects associated with the current season, such as leaves, dried flowers, pine cones, twigs, shells. Objects can be arranged in creative and artistic ways to stimulate children's curiosity and exploration, but don't fill the space - remember to let them take care of it and let it grow. Children love to collect treasures they find in nature. What's the last "jewel" you found in your child's pockets after going outdoors?
- Create handcrafted elements that represent the current season, have fun with materials and explore and create with the children, let this corner become an opportunity to spend quality time together.
- Leave available books, and if you want informative material, which illustrate the characteristics of the current season.
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Jasmine and Nastasia