Preparing The Montessori Environment: The First Week
Every year there is a lot of emotions when preparing the environment for those children who start a new school year and those who will return. I entered the room completely empty, silent, and desolate, with materials used the previous year. While walking I was carefully observing each material then it comes to mind, like a movie, the story of the little hands that carefully, and sometimes not so carefully, used the material. Remembering that boy who discovered different sounds with the brown stairs, that girl who was fascinated with the microscope and put everything under the lens, the boy who memorized the name of each bird, the boy who managed to begin his exploration of the map of United States and finished putting it very carefully for himself, that girl who in our environment began to read and the boy who at a young age dominates mathematical problems of simple addition and multiplication. In short, each child was like a different plant, which we care differently and grew in its own way. Like a tree, all similar but none identical. All with the same desire to learn and desire to be happy.
While thinking, I felt sad for those who moved on and take a little part of my spirit with them. On the other hand, I got the joy of those children who are coming back and those who are going to be new in our environment.
Now, the challenge is, I have to think about what I can improve this new year and the challenges that are yet to come. What can I add? What should I eliminate? Anyway, how can I improve the experience of children this coming year?
And... The decision of the materials begins!
1. Practical Life Materials
My challenge is to prepare an environment where children feel free, I can present and return children can present materials too. The materials that
What should be available should be simple materials that develop their concentration and standardize the community. Transfer materials are the best option for the children to feel free, to develop the eye-hand coordination and concentration. With a prepared environment, the children will make their way to normalization.
2. Language and Mathematics
I prepared these areas very carefully to get attention and children to be attracted to these areas. This area gives me the opportunity to explain the basic rules and give the child the opportunity to be patient. There are times when the child wants to enter this area, then I take this opportunity to explain the sequence of the materials and use this moment to keep the interest and keep that flame burning.
I am part of the environment, I need to prepare myself with training, continue education and child development classes. I need to provide them an environment of peace. They need to feel safe and confident to explore all areas of the environment. In an environment there should be peace and trust, the child will grow safe, will demonstrate sensitive periods and as a guide, I need to be observant of these periods.
Anyhow, with the help of several Montessori guides, including a great friend and Montessori guide for many years Jennifer Estremera, I prepared the environment to receive the children this new school year. Now with many anxieties and even with butterflies in my stomach, I am ready for Monday to see the children enter the environment and with the hope that it is going to be one of the best experiences of their life. I am prepared to take care of them as a gardener takes care of their plants, I promise to provide the environment they need. I am prepared to water the soil so that its roots are nourished and their curiosity leads them to discover. Thus, children, in an environment full of peace and love, will grow in confidence to lead a world that needs them.