The Montessori Prepared Environment

Main Points to Consider for the Prepared Environment:

The Prepared Environment is any where the child is. For all ages, it should be maintained and kept neat and orderly. As the child gets older they will be able to maintain it themselves, but the younger child will need assistance. “Less is more” is often a good motto with the Prepared Environment because children get over-stimulated and can’t really “see” what they have. Fewer items on the shelves promotes respect and reverence for the materials. The shelves for the infant/crawler should be about 12inches and for the toddler they should be about 16 inches high. The child will be able to use the top shelf as a work space and will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Place mirrors and beautiful pictures above the shelf at eye level for the child. Then stand back and observe the beauty of the prepared environment.

Age 0-3 years:

It is simple, natural and encourages communication and movement from birth to three.
The child from birth to three has a keen sense of order and the Prepared Environment should foster that. It should not change for the first year of the child’s life.
Children should have a “main” play area and smaller areas in other parts of the house.
Toys should be attractive, easily accessible, age appropriate, and safe.

Age 3-6 years:

From age 3-6 the Prepared Environment should foster independence and self-control.
The child should be a part of family life and be included in family activities.
The child should be responsible for toys and other personal belongings.
The child can dress themselves and take care of many personal needs- it just takes a little more time.

Age 6-9 years:

The child is very independent and can take care of personal hygiene, dressing, etc.
The child should be included in many family activities and have responsibilities.
The child should have a study place to do homework, reading, etc.
Rotate toys and try to keep room simple and clean. Model putting things away.

If you are interested in more information about the Prepared Environment or I haven’t covered your child’s age, feel free to post questions and I will happily answer them.