“Children acquire knowledge through experience in the environment”.
Dr. Maria Montessori
What is a Prepared Environment?
In Montessori, the prepared environment is key. The environment provides meaningful and purposeful experiences and promotes a love of learning through freedom of choice and movement.
It is the space that has been beautifully designed considering the children's needs based on their developmental stage.
The prepared environment is an environment where the child can be independent, free, comfortable, and secure, and develop their own person through experiences in relation to elements around them.
What Does the Prepared Environment Offer?
- Attractive activities: offer age-appropriate activities.
- Less is more: a cluttered environment can be confusing and overwhelming. Choose purposeful activities that capture the interest of the child.
- Child-sized: furniture, objects, and learning materials that are accessible to the child and can fit in their hands. It fosters independence.
- Beauty: natural materials (cotton, wood, wool), art, and handmade cultural elements appealing to the children's aesthetic sense.
- Real: the use of real objects offers real experiences to the children, helps them build confidence. It encourages them to build a strong sense of belonging in the family.
- Order: external order brings internal order in the child. The child knows what to expect. It brings confidence.
- Freedom and Choice: the prepared environment offers freedom of movement and freedom of choice. That allows children to pursue their interests and needs.
- Independence: the prepared environment is safe, for that children can explore and follow their will.
- Self-discipline, and freedom within limits: in a prepared environment children have the freedom of movement and choice if they assume the responsibility to respect the environment.
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Tips to Set Up the Prepared Environment at Home
“A room where everything is accessible and well maintained will help to foster your child's independence, care and respect for possessions and responsibility for her own space .”
- Having the main goal in mind: to satisfy the children's needs is the priority.
- Find ways to allow the children to enjoy and feel comfortable in the room.
- Keep in mind that setting an environment where children can be successful and independent will reduce our stress. Remove products that are not child's friendly and avoid saying “no”.
- Make the utmost out of the space available and remove clutter.
- Natural light and pastel colors.
- Safety first!
In the Living Room:
- Arrange at least one lower shelf where the child can have access to their activities.
- Child-sized table and chair.
- Floor mat.
In the Kitchen:
- Real glasses, plates and cutlery.
- Food preparation shelf or drawer where the child can independently. access to healthy food and water.
- Learning tower to access the kitchen counter.
- Cleaning materials: cloth, sponge, broom.
In the Bedroom:
- Floor mattress fosters independence.
- Library shelf with accessible books.
- Cozy area with pillows, floor mat or rocking chair to read, imagine, and be creative.
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The prepared environment is a game changer. It is not about perfection; it is about intention. The main goal is to provide a safe and appealing environment where the child can feel comfortable to seek their needs.
A peaceful and enriched environment will become a creative and calm space for the whole family.
Little changes can make big differences!