When children learn in a prepared environment, they will be able to assert their independence and their desire to contribute, which is why the environment plays an important role when incorporating the Montessori philosophy in your home. Setting up the environment can be an enjoyable process, and the rewarding part is seeing your child learn and pick up skills independently along the way.
What you need to know about setting up the prepared environment:
1. Follow your child’s lead. This really is the most important element. Learning new skills will not occur without your child’s interest. Observe and find out where your child’s level of learning is at, so that you will be able to provide appropriate materials to encourage active learning. Always observe without interrupting your child’s concentration, and refrain from correcting your child’s work.
2. Keep it simple, beautiful and orderly. Simplicity always reign, so clutter is a definite no-no. The trick is to rotate materials and toys to keep things fresh and interesting. Organization is key so that your child clearly understands where everything belongs. Use trays and baskets to place the materials for each activity. Bear in mind that you do not need to have a whole room dedicated to your Montessori materials, but it will be ideal to have a separate space that your child could go to.
3. Think child-sized! Take a tour around your home at your child’s level, and you might be surprised to find out how inaccessible your home is to your child! Incorporate sturdy child-sized furniture such as floor bed, low shelves and hangers. Store cups, plates and utensils in a low cabinet so that your child will have easy access during meal times. Remember that child friendly items will help to nature your child’s innate desire for self-reliance, and you will be surprised how well your child will respect and adapt to the responsibilities given to them.
4. Natural materials. Many of such items can be found in thrift stores, so you do not have to spend a bomb when it comes to buying materials for the environment. Focus on quality, natural materials whenever possible. There are also many online stores and websites that sells inexpensive Montessori materials. If you have time, you could even make your own materials!
Now, are you all ready to get started? :)
*image source: bebeliv