Botany Cabinet: Focus on the Essentials

An excerpt from the elementary biology album that reminds us why we use generic shapes in the botany cabinet, as opposed to leaf names specific to a particular region:

Once the child gathers a large body of knowledge from sensorial exploration, she can then begin to order and classify it.
An example of how this happens is by giving the child the name of the new shape rather than just giving the name of the plant from which the leaf comes. For example, the child can see that this plant has obovate leaves and so does this plant. That plant over there has sagittate leaves. When you give the name of the leaf shape, you give the children a tool to classify leaves and plants alike. Just giving the names of the plants, does not provide a basis for ordering and classification. This base of information is also built up through the use of nomenclature material in the primary. The nomenclature material is used by children who are reading and also those children who are not yet reading. Through the use of the nomenclature material, children learn the names of plants, parts of plants, names of animals and names of parts of animals. Eventually, all of this information can be ordered and classified. Another source for building up the child’s store of information comes from the stories, the poems and the songs that the teacher introduces about plants and animals.
All of this work becomes a foundation from which the children will launch with her work in the elementary.