The Prepared Home and Environment—Learning from Montessori Teaching
The Montessori classroom is thoughtfully constructed to facilitate a classroom culture filled with curiosity and confidence. This structure is called the “Prepared Classroom,” but this prepared environment can be recreated for your child, at any age, and at home too! What surrounds a child, especially in the first five years of life, will directly affect their development—make sure they are absorbing a positive environment.
The foundation for the prepared environment must be safety—both on a physical and emotional level. A child must be kept in a space that has been childproofed and is away from danger. To create this space you might use child gates to block wandering feet from going into areas like the kitchen or an office space. A child will also benefit from the security this designated space will provide them with. The child will learn their boundaries while also exercising their freedom and exploring their space.
Once you have designated this prepared environment, you will need to fill it mindfully. Children will respond well to a well-organized environment for their play. Specifically, if toys and activities are kept on shelves and hooks instead of in toy boxes. This will allow your child to easily access all that is available to them and will also teach them the value of cleaning up after themselves and keeping their space organized.
A well-structured space won’t only be organized well, but will also be aesthetically pleasing and filled with beauty. For example, hang artwork at your child’s eye-level—this can either be your child’s own masterpieces or even a great work of art. Children’s brains are stimulated more by these wall hangings than the typical bright posters that tend to fill children’s rooms. You may even consider incorporating furniture into the space that is constructed with natural materials, like wood. By choosing this type of furniture over plastic furniture, a child learns an appreciation for nature and handiwork.
Creating a prepared environment for your child at home will not only create a space for your child’s learning and play, but will also aid in their mind’s development.