Outdoor Classroom

"There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight
of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest.
Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul,
something no book, no museum is capable of giving."

- Maria Montessori, "From Childhood to Adolescence."

The Outdoor Classroom at the Montessori School of Lake Forest serves as an extension of the Montessori classroom. It is often the inspiration for classroom research and study.

Restoration & Conservation

Students work daily to care for our land. With 5.5 acres of prairie, woodland and wetland, there is always purposeful work to do. Through managing invasive species and encouraging native plants, they learn what makes a healthy ecosystem.

Research & Study

Students interested in studying the parts of a plant begin their research in their classroom with books, and then take their studies outside to the real plant.

Organic Garden

MSLF’s Organic Garden is an important part of the Outdoor Classroom curriculum. Students at every level learn the basic lesson of how to plant a seed and care for its growth into a plant. Utilizing our garden beds, greenhouse and individual classroom patio containers, plants are grown year round!

Garden Market

During harvest season (May – October), we have a weekly Friday market. Students harvest and wash vegetables to prepare them for market. Elementary students run the market by promoting and selling. Valuable lessons are learned as the students add up the totals for market shoppers, receive cash payments, make change and learn the importance of customer service. Students from every classroom have an opportunity during the school day to shop at the market, as well.


The organic garden at MSLF provides and abundance of produce for cooking lessons! Students bake, dehydrate, can and prepare a wide variety from their harvests. Many of these items are offered for sale at the Friday Garden Markets.

Nature Journaling

In their first year of Lower Elementary, students are given their nature journals. A coinciding activity to receiving their journal is the construction of their nature journal bag. Each student sews and personalizes a bag to carry their journal and pencil outdoors. Nature Journaling is a time for reflection and observation in the natural world.

Certifications & Partnerships