Preparing the environment, or setting the stage, is so important in a Montessori classroom. The teachers spend so much time making sure everything is accessible to the children, that the flow of movement works, and that the classroom is as beautiful as possible. (Move over Martha Stewart!) The classroom is arranged around these areas of work – practical life (care of self and the environment), sensorial ( learning about shape, size, texture, sound, smell, taste, color, weight, patterns, etc., through exploration using our senses), math, language, cultural subjects (social studies – history and geography), art and craft, science. Every piece of material has its place and purpose.
When we have a special event, we also focus on the preparation of the environment. Consider our recent event – a day in Paris. This gives the children a real purpose for making flags, push pinning out shapes of France, coloring and cutting out pictures of the Eiffel Tower, etc. This builds anticipation, and helps children get excited about a special event. We’re already thinking about setting the stage for a mothers’ day tea, a special event for Dads, graduation.
At home, you can involve your children in ‘preparing the environment’, too – dying Easter eggs, decorating the Christmas tree, preparing a room for a visit from grandparents, preparing for the birth of a sibling, preparing a tray for ‘breakfast in bed’ for a Mom or Dad on a special day, setting the table for a special meal . . . Admit it, who doesn’t love a special card or decoration made by a three year old!
Martha Stewart, move over! Preparation of the environment, or decorating, explained! March 29, 2012