Do you allow your children to pick flowers? I recently questioned this myself but the answer came out really clear. Yes, of course, but only when safe to do so.
A child must touch the flower to know the flower. Children need to use all of their senses including touch, they can pull the petals off the stem, they can squish the flower in their hands. This is exploration. We need to satisfy the child's need to touch and explore while respecting the needs of our community and ecosystem. I believe that a child who is in contact with nature will know nature and will protect it.
We can use picked flowers for:
- Flower arranging
- Flower pressing and preserving
- Hapa Zome
- Sun Prints
- Making flower and nature based crafts
- Use on a nature display
- Dissecting the flower, to study flower anatomy
We can grow flowers specifically for picking and using in flower arranging. Flowers like dandelions are plentiful at this time of year, flowers on native bushes are often plentiful and blossoms from fallen branches are beautiful in spring. If we are providing cut flowers in the classroom or the home it's important that the children know and understand where the flowers come from.
When to say 'Yes', to picking flowers:
- When we know the name and type of flower, ensuring it is safe to touch.
- In our own garden or garden of friends and family.
- Flowers from a fallen branch.
- At School or Forest School with permission, it's best to check with the teachers in advance.
- In safe forraging areas.
- Where the flowers are plentiful and are not known to be rare.
When to say 'No', to picking flowers:
- When we don't know the name or type of flower, some flowers are poisonous or irritants.
- In public spaces and community gardens.
- Neighbours garden.
- In protected woods and nature reserves.
- Where the flowers are rare or not plentiful.
In Caspar's Montessori parent toddler class the children were able to collect a little basket and scissors from the shelves to take around the garden to pick flowers for flower arranging. Where there enough flowers for everyone? Yes, the toddlers loved to walk around the gardens but usually only picked a few flowers and often with great care. Then they took pride in displaying them beautifully around the classroom. Children may even respect the flowers and the gardens more if they are allowed to pick flowers themselves.
- What happens if every child picks a flower? at Montessori Nature.