The absorption of the environment is an intellectual activity. It is a psychic necessity that the child explores the environment; it satisfies his spirit. After he has had the satisfaction of observing one thing that interests him, he goes on until he is attracted by something else. – Maria Montessori, 1946 London Lectures
The notion of a “prepared environment” is important to Montessori learning as it is designed to inspire a child’s natural curiosity and facilitate independent learning. It’s a space that is clean, ordered, spacious, warm, and inviting.
In order for a child to explore they’ll need access to the things around them, which should suit their interests and abilities. The space should be beautiful – inspiring inquisitiveness, fun and learning. There should also be emphasis on bringing the inside out and the outside in; keep things as close to nature as you can.
With all these wonderful Montessori principles in mind, here are some quick, top tips to preparing a Montessori environment in your home:
- neutral walls and furnishings
- interesting, varied textures
- living plants
- child-size furniture
- space for free movement
- no clutter
- accessible shelves
- real-life activities (as opposed to toys)
- art at child’s eye-level
- beauty, visual appeal
Your prepared environment should be a space that encourages children to socialise but enables them to work alone if they so choose. Everything should have a place and children should tidy each activity before moving on to another.
A good idea is to get your child involved in the creation of this space – work on it together and you’re guaranteed to come up with something you really love.