Are you a parent or an immediate caregiver looking for ways to set up the Montessori Environment, but need help finding effective ways to integrate the Montessori philosophy at home?
Let’s face it, the Montessori Method of education is an effective educational tool that goes beyond the classroom and basic curricula.
This pedagogical philosophy provides children with an optimum learning environment that isn’t limited to the classroom, in fact, many parents who adopt the Montessori Philosophy often integrate the Montessori Principle into their homes.
Montessori Prepared Environment is an eccentric and unique Montessori Principle that takes each aspect of the child’s development into account to provide the child with the right tools for optimum holistic development.
However when creating a Montessori Environment at home, one must have an intimate understanding of the basic Montessori principles and the encompassing rules that govern the environment.
There is a myriad of elements and rules that one must remember when preparing a Montessori Environment at home.
If you are a beginner Montessori parent or someone who is just curious to know about the Montessori Home Environment, look no further.
Here is everything you should know about the Montessori environment at home, to help you curate the best Montessori Set up to stimulate learning and facilitate holistic development for children.
What is a Montessori Prepared Environment?
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children for the initial six of their lives have an absorbent mind and are highly susceptible to the stimuli present in their surrounding environment.
The Montessori Prepared Environment is a systematically arranged environment or setup that allows your child to willingly and autonomously learn and develop at their own pace.
The Prepared Environment in Montessori is a safe space where every student feels accepted and does not need to face competition, judgment, stress, and pressure.
This specifically curated and designed environment incorporates Montessori Materials, tools, Montessori curriculum, and apparatus to stimulate learning and sensory development.
The Montessori Prepared Environment is specifically designed to provide the child with age-appropriate stimuli to allow the child to reach major developmental milestones as they play.
Montessori Prepared Environment promotes autonomous learning and allows the child to develop qualities such as independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence.
The Montessori Prepared Environment is based on six fundamental principles that facilitate the holistic development of children.
What are the Characteristics of The Montessori Environment?
When preparing a home environment specifically curated for a younger child the mind often wanders to brightly colored walls, illustrative posters or images of their favorite cartoons, creative furniture, and flashy toys.
While these elements are great for adding a touch of vibrancy to any household, they often lag behind in providing the child with necessary sensory stimuli and usually overstimulate their senses.
The Montessori Prepared Environment for homes bridges the gap between what is being taught to the child in school and their developmental activities at home.
The Montessori Prepared Environment should accommodate and cater to all the developmental needs and requirements of the child and must include child-sized furniture, natural materials, and apparatus.
If you are interested in incorporating the Montessori Prepared Environment Principles into your home environment, refer to the characteristics mentioned below:
Minimalistic and Neutral:
Children are highly receptive to the sensorial stimuli present in their vicinity, hence avoiding flashy posters or brightly colored walls is recommended when preparing Montessori Environment at home.
The Walls should be neutral or earth colored with minimal decorations to promote optimum holistic development and avoid overstimulating the child.
Structure and Order:
The Montessori method of education promotes open-ended play as a means of autodidactic education that allows them to freely move around and interact with any material or activity of their choice.
Hence, with freedom comes responsibility. Each element in the Montessori Home Environment should be meticulously arranged and adorned in bins or Montessori Shelves.
The Montessori Prepared Environment must incorporate child-sized furniture encompassing tables, chairs, shelves that contain activity materials, and materials that allow easy access and the development of independence.
These child-sized Montessori Materials and furniture do not intimidate younger children. The furniture and the materials should be easy for the children to use and reach.
Sensory stimulation and sensory development are among the salient features and integral principles of the Montessori method.
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the senses are the gateway to knowledge, especially during the first six years of the child’s life.
These specifically designed Montessori Materials should provide the child with the necessary sensorial stimuli to facilitate effective education.
The materials should also keep the child engaged and attentive during the education process.
Since the Montessori Method of education promotes self-directed autonomous play, there should be ample space to allow the child to move freely and interact with different sensorial stimuli.
Your home should have ample open space to allow freedom of movement and should not be cluttered to allow the child to interact with other students.
Promoting practical life skills:
The Montessori method of education along with the traditional curriculum also promotes practical life skills in children that are essential for promoting the child to become confident individuals from a very young age.
The activities that promote basic life skills include self-care, hygiene, grace, and courtesy.
Children in a Montessori Home Environment are promoted to independently partake in practical life, homely, as well as self-care and hygiene activities from a very young age.
Creating a Montessori environment at home:
The Montessori method of education is more than just an educational tool, it is a lifestyle choice.
Hence before adopting the Montessori Environment at home it is essential for parents to understand the basic Montessori principles.
In a Montessori school, highly trained teachers are responsible for preparing and facilitating education through the Montessori Prepared Environment to promote the overall development of the child.
The Montessori Environment at home can act as a bridge that helps to reinforce the knowledge the child learns in school.
Before starting the journey of Montessori parenting it is important for parents to do the required research and reading to fully equip themselves for executing the Prepared Environment at home.
While Montessori Materials are paramount for facilitating education, parents do not have to bring every material or apparatus of the Montessori Classroom at home, in fact, parents can invest their money in the materials and furniture they deem useful for their children.
Preparing and creating the Montessori Environment at home requires more than just materials, parents have to be devoted, patient, resistant, and reliable in facilitating the learning process for younger minds.
What is the role of the Parents?
The Montessori Method of education goes beyond the four walls of a classroom and often encourages parents to equally participate in the child’s development process as their educators in a Montessori School.
Here are some points to remember when initiating the process of preparing the Montessori Environment at home:
1. Understanding the needs of your child:
The Montessori Method of education is a child-centered educational approach that promotes children to learn and develop at their own pace.
It is important to understand and notice the age-appropriate needs and requirements of the child during different periods of development.
Parents should be aware of these changes and the requirements of their children.
To facilitate proper education during different stages the child requires:
- different materials
- levels of attention
- methods of learning
2. Parent as a role model:
For the first six years of their life, children are highly receptible to the stimuli present in their surrounding environment and dominantly dependent on their senses to develop an understanding of the world.
The surrounding home environment based on Montessori Principles should also include the actions of the teachers, parents, and immediate caregivers.
Parents and immediate caregivers must always be positive, engaging, and supportive toward their children.
The Montessori Method prohibits the punishment and reward system hence children should learn about the cause, effect, and natural consequences of their actions as well as grow at their own pace without using rewards or punishments.
It is essential as a parent to understand and adopt the role of becoming a teaching figure for the child to facilitate proper education.
Parents should give their children freedom, independence, and free space to participate in activities at their own pace.
Just like a Montessori Educator, parents should also act like an observer, a director, and a facilitator.
3. Removing distractions:
The Montessori Environment provides the child with all the necessary stimuli to facilitate proper education and development, often eliminating all the unnecessary stimuli from their environment.
Hence the use of multimedia technology is prohibited as it can be disruptive during activity hours.
It is the parent’s responsibility to eliminate any distracting stimuli during the educational process that may overstimulate the child.
The use of television, laptops, cell phones, and other multimedia technology at home should be minimal.
4. Chores and household activities:
The Montessori method of education lays heavy emphasis on teaching children household chores, self-care activities, and practical life skills to help them become well-rounded individuals.
Partaking in daily chores helps in the development of fine motor skills, instills a sense of independence and responsibility in the child, as well as brings order and structure to the child’s daily schedule.
Setting up Montessori Environment at home:
It can be a daunting task for most beginner parents to prepare and set up the home environment based on Montessori principles.
Hence, doing ample research on Montessori Principles and the Six Principles of Montessori Prepared Environment is a prerequisite.
If you are a Montessori parent who wants to adopt the Montessori Principles and Philosophy at home but requires some added help look no further.
Here are some easy steps to follow for setting up the Montessori Prepared Environment at home:
Parents don’t need to bring the entire Montessori classroom set up at home investing in quintessential child-sized furniture will be sufficient to bring with them:
- a child-sized bed
- child-sized table
- a chair, boxes
- shelves along with a few Montessori materials
The Child’s Bedroom
Your child’s bedroom should be a safe, clean, and clutter-free zone that should be designated to perform tasks like:
The child-sized furniture is more accessible and functional for children.
There should be lowered-down clothing racks and designated shelves for shoes and boots.
As their personal workspace, the child should also be provided with a separate child-sized work desk to study and learn.
Parents should promote their children to keep the bedroom clean and maintain tidiness independently.
The bathroom in a Montessori environment should be specially designated for self-care and self-hygiene.
Each element and component of the bathroom should be child-sized to promote autonomous activities.
Parents should promote their children to perform self-hygiene independently. The child’s bathroom must have the following components.
- a mirror at the child’s eye level
- a step stool
- a toothbrush
Parents should provide the child with a designated space to eat, comprising a child-sized table or a high chair for younger children.
The child should independently and willingly wash their hands after a meal with the help of a step stool, Pikler triangle, or a learning tower.
Parents should promote their children to actively participate in the kitchen and provide the children with easy-to-reach drawers.
Providing the child with a separate workspace gives them the feeling of autonomy and develops their self-confidence.
In fact, giving your child a separate workspace to learn and participate in activities will help the child develop a sense of independence, confidence, and pride and keeps them excited to perform their next activity.
There is no requirement of purchasing every Montessori Material at once since they can be a heavy investment.
Parents can invest their money in age-appropriate Montessori Materials that they think will suit their child’s development.