What is a Prepared Environment
Anyone familiar with Montessori education will recognize that term. Having a “prepared environment” simply means having all of the supplies for learning set out so that a child can learn independently. Since Adalia was a toddler, I have sought to have a “prepared environment” for her. This has changed over the years as our family has changed and grown. Here’s what it looks like in our home today:
This shelf is more or less the centerpiece of our living room. Chuck built it seven or eight years ago. It is a wooden masterpiece, with all adjustable shelves! You can see the basic organization. Everything has a place. Library books are kept together so we don’t lose them (but of course, we still do, because children drag them off to bed to read-but at least they have a place to go!) The content of the shelves gets changed often (except for the books- those stay). Since I have two students studying marine biology this year, I have added activities for all the children that center on that topic. We have shells to examine, a mini ocean science kit, coloring pages, and books.
Then we have this shelf (also crafted by Chuck) on a nearby wall:
Here are all the supplies needed to learn about geometric shapes. The insets develop fine motor skills. I have pencils and pre-cut paper out. We have cards to match the solids to the two-dimensional shapes. Those blue things on the wooden insets are matching shape and alphabet boards. Here is a post from last year with my children using the insets.
Here is last year’s back-to-school post on my top picks. It’s so much fun to go and look at this from a year ago. There I have a photo of Hezekiah (age four) using the sandpaper letters. By December (and still age 4!) he was reading. Jubilee wasn’t reading either when I wrote that blog entry last year- she now reads chapter books.