Rather than arriving at class with a specific idea about what they’d like to work on, toddlers enter the classroom and happen upon what draws their attention or captures their interest. Children may begin to arrive with a plan sometimes by the age of three to six, for example, “I’d like to read books first, and I want to help prepare the snack today;” Although our capacity to plan and follow through with our intentions develops in time, no whatever our age, our environment continues to guide many aspects of our experience throughout our entire lives.
At its foundation, Montessori philosophy recognizes that our environment can be our greatest guide and teacher when curated thoughtfully, or our gravest roadblock to fulfilling our potential when it’s chaotic, disordered, or inconsistent, or at the other end of the spectrum when it’s stagnant or dull and lacking appropriate stimulation. As Montessori Playgroup Leaders, our most essential task is to prepare every space with love and intention, with consideration for both the child and the adult, in order to:
Montessori Playgroup Leaders welcome families into the space and orient them through the methodical setup, presenting the precise uses and boundaries around each material and activity. We introduce families to the essence of the environment, its ordered and active life, it’s profound presence, and then we leave them free to explore, choose, and execute their work, stepping in as little as possible and as much as necessary.
The Montessori Environment includes several elements:
When families are greeted by a space prepared with such care and dedication, especially designed for their child’s age and capacities, they understand how we tend to their child in our work. The environment itself communicates our philosophy, method, and purpose.