Living and Nonliving Montessori Lesson

Living and nonliving lessons are the foundation of Montessori zoology. This lesson is typically for children ages 3-6. 

To introduce this lesson you can take a non living thing (maybe a ball) and a living thing (maybe a plant) and sit with the child. 

Take the living object and ask the child. Is this living? 

Let them answer, then give them the answer. 

All living things breathe, eat, grow, move, reproduce and have senses. Make sure to allow the child to ask questions if they have them. Most children will have questions or comments at this time.

Then take the non living thing and ask them. Is this living?

Again let them answer, then give them the answer. 

Non-living things do not eat, grow, breathe or reproduce. They do not have senses (again make sure you leave room for questions and let them express their thoughts).

It is important to explain to children that the entire world is made up of living and nonliving things. 

You can then go through this PRINTABLE together and classify each picture into the living and nonliving columns. This work can then be left for your child to practice on their own until they have grasped the concept. 

Once they have a good understanding of living and nonliving you can then introduce once living. 

Once living things are things that used to be alive but now are not. This includes dried flowers, fallen leaves, dead insects, fossils, picked vegetables, picked fruit, etc. When introducing the concept of once living it is important to discuss how it was living at one point and needed water, air, and could reproduce but is no longer living and therefore no longer needs those things (air, water, food, etc.).

When your child has mastered sorting things into living, nonliving and once living you can have them cut out images out of magazines and sort image they choose.


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Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

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