Montessori schools provide a “prepared environment” for children that is specially arranged for their development and self-directed learning. Parents can guide children to continue learning outside the classroom with a few simple Montessori-inspired tips for creating a “prepared environment” at home.
Get on Their Level: Think about what your child can see and reach at their height. Make sure that toys, artwork, furniture and everyday necessities are available to them at their level, and make adjustments as they grow. This allows a child to have a unique sense of space and independence.
Keep Organized: Rotate a small selection of frequently used toys displayed on your child’s level. Instead of large toy boxes, use shelving and small baskets to arrange your child’s things. By arranging a limited number of toys in a tidy manner you will provide structure by not overwhelming the senses and making cleanup approachable and orderly.
Make A “Child Space”: In each room of your home, create a space for your child with a few items for them to use in that space displayed at their level. For example, have a small stool and low-hanging hooks by the door where a child can put on and remove shoes, and hang their coat. This builds independence and purpose in each area of the house and of daily living.
Quality Before Quantity: When choosing toys, artwork, furniture, etc. put quality over quantity. The environment directly affects the mind. Creating orderly surroundings with a few simple and attractive toys, and pieces of artwork and furniture will give children a sense of value and respect.
Model Behavior: Be clear and gentle with your words and actions in the home. We’ve all heard the expression that “children are like sponges.” Montessori calls this concept the “absorbent mind,” and acknowledges that children are mentally drinking in their environment – good or bad. Set a positive example with your own words and actions for your child to follow.