"The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim, therefore, is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core." - To Educate the Human Potential, Dr. Maria Montessori
We can create a Montessori, child-centered, home environment to support the child's natural enthusiasm for learning. The environment motivates the child's interest to act and conduct his own learning experiences.
Through observations of a child's daily routine, we can curate a thoughtful and enjoyable experience for the child. It is not about replicating the Montessori classroom setting in the home environment.
It is a home environment that is unique and supports the developmental needs of the child. Each child shines in his own special way. He has a unique learning style and characteristics.
THE "L.O.V.E" ELEMENTS IN A PREPARED ENVIRONMENT
The prepared environment is the home and all surroundings that come in contact with the child.
L: A LEARNED ENVIRONMENT
It is acquired by experiences, inspired by observing the child's developmental needs and interests. Put the focus on the level of concentration and movement of the child, instead of the materials on the shelves. Understand the approach before investing in materials. Parents can easily find the benefits of child-sized furniture and tools as they observe how the child moves and works within the environment.
O: AN ORDERLY ENVIRONMENT
Remove clutter and obstacles, and create a home with structure and order that benefits both the child and the parents. Display what sparks joy with fewer distractions and visual noises. It is easier for the child to form a habit to clean up, develop a sense of accountability, and understand the order in the universe as he grows in an organized environment. With the marketing campaigns and influences of social media, it is easy for us to want more and make purchases based on wants or the fear of missing out (FOMO).
A prepared environment should not mimic what we see on social media. Think of nature and how refreshing we feel being outdoors. It only displays vegetation based on each season. More does NOT mean better! Nature only displays seasonal fruits and plants for a particular reason. Each season has its own beauty and uniqueness. We can do so by curating a home environment based on the developmental needs, interests, and characteristics of the child. Can we imagine having all the plants and flowers from all seasons blooming all at once in the garden?
V: A VALUABLE ENVIRONMENT
Things we display in the home environment tell the child what we focus on. The environment tells stories. It represents our cultures and communicates values. We can model how to minimize and maintain an environment that reflects cultures and beliefs. A well-prepared environment needs to work for the developmental needs of the child. The child can find value and enjoyment through exploring at home. The value is not from the price tags of the furniture or the materials on the shelves.
The prepared environment encourages every child to move freely within his needs. There is freedom of movement, choice, learning pace, and time. The child has the autonomy to choose for himself as the parents set healthy boundaries and limits at home. The parents cannot act or choose for the child. When the child finds value in his working space, he can comfortably develop the fundamental skills of independence, concentration, and intellectual and emotional quality within the environment.
E: AN ENCHANTING ENVIRONMENT
It is a stereotypical myth that Montessori education is only for rich and well-educated families. It is not. We do NOT need an exquisite home to create an enjoyable learning environment. Observe the child, display only what the child needs, and create an orderly environment that benefits both the child and the family.
We can maximize our learning space regardless of the size of the home and budget. A well-prepared environment can be a fun and amusing place for both the child and us. It is a place of beauty and order, a learning environment that prioritizes freedom and social interactions.
"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult."
The idea supports Dr. Maria Montessori's vision that everything the child comes into contact with would facilitate and maximize independent learning and exploration.
Finding ways to support independence and developmental needs are the goal of Montessori learning in the home environment. The prepared environment is an essential part to implement Montessori education at home. It facilitates the natural tendency of a child's curiosity to explore and discover. Our ultimate goals are to help the child to find meaning in his work and daily routines and motivate the child to have a greater sense of ownership and satisfaction.
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In the jojoebi Resource library, you can get a 30-page pack of Animals Around The World 3 Part-cards plus continent cards plus many other printables to keep the kids busy and engaged. New items are added every month.
ABOUT KRISTY from LOVE SCHOOL AT HOME
Kristy is a trilingual mother from Hong Kong, teaching her children Chinese and English at home. She has two daughters, now living in the US. Previously in the hotel sales and marketing business with a background of International Cultural Studies and Anthropology, she is a full time stay-at-home homeschooling mother. Kristy enjoys nature, arts, holistic lifestyle and creating learning resources inspired by the interests of her children. She implements inspirations from Montessori school of thoughts with her daughters.