There is a tree whose branches overhang into one of the two toddler playgrounds at the daycare center I work at. It seems that there is a cycle involving those branches that goes something like this:
1. The branches are growing down over the fence.
2. The branches are now long enough that the toddlers can jump up to pull the leaves off and break off portions of the supple limbs.
3. The branches are now shorter and forgotten, out of reach of the children.
And repeat. It's like a free trimming service.
Except that it builds unfriendly habits towards nature.
Which leads me to say, "Do not take from living plants. The plants are still using those parts. If you find parts of a plant that are on the ground, we can take those--the plant is finished using them and has given them to us like a gift."
(I think I may have gotten a line similar to this from the book, Teaching Kids to Love the Earth.)
But, of course, the two-year-olds I work with are not used to thinking along such terms, there are too many children on the playground at once for them to ignore the commotion of the others playing and pay attention to comments like this, and the other teachers are not on board with this care of plants, either.
So once every two weeks or so, I do everything in my power to prevent the flurried dance of two-year-olds jumping, pulling, tugging, and falling into each other in order to harm a tree.
Montessori teaching is difficult at a center that doesn't embrace the Montessori philosophy.
More on such thoughts later.