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The Prepared Environment

The Prepared Environment

 

When creating a home environment reflective of the Montessori Method, it is helpful to understand the principles of The Prepared Environment.

What is “The Prepared Environment?”

Through her observations of children, Maria Montessori identified specific qualities that should be maintained in the child’s environment in order to provide the ideal learning experience. The Prepared Environment embodies the following principles:

  • Freedom of Choice within Limits

  • Structure and Order

  • Beauty and Simplicity

  • Nature & Reality

  • Social Environment

  • Montessori Materials (Intellectual Environment)

"I then came to realize that everything about a child should not only be in order, but that it should be proportioned to the child's use, and that interest and concentration arise specifically from the elimination of what is confusing and superfluous."  Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

 

How to Create a Prepared Environment in Your Home

  • Declutter and organize your home. Establish which activities and materials will be available for the child’s use on a regular basis. Store extra items in easily accessible boxes and rotate activities based on the child’s needs. 

  • Set up the physical space accordingly. Provide an area of the home that can be designated specifically for the child. Choose furniture that is child-sized and shelves that are low and accessible to the child. Provide the child with a work space such as a table and chair, along with access to a work rug for floor activities.

  • Limit the number of activities available at a time. Every material has a specific place on the shelf. Limiting choices provides an orderly, manageable environment for the child.

  • Establish behavioral expectations with the child. Only one activity may be used at a time. Each activity is returned to its proper place on the shelf before the child may choose a new activity. Materials are to be handled carefully and respectfully.

  • Choose and create activities that are made with natural, appealing materials. Add beauty to the child’s space with plants, flowers, objects from nature, and cultural artifacts.

  • Allow for social experiences in the child’s environment. Arrange for the child to have consistent social interactions with other children and adults by including others in your home environment. *Note: Every family is unique in their response to social-distancing and shelter-in-place orders. We are simply pointing out that a child’s social development is a component of a well-balanced Montessori experience. Allowing the child to participate in family activities like meal preparation and basic household tasks is also a form of social interaction and provides opportunity for growth.

  • Provide Montessori-specific materials by creating activities by hand, using household objects and materials, and purchasing manufactured materials for specific Montessori lessons. The prepared home environment will look different from the traditional classroom prepared environment, which is to be expected.

Continue Reading Creating Montessori Activities