Although it makes complete sense to me, without reading about Montessori I would never have set up our home this way. I would never have come to this conclusion on my own. I wouldn't have known or appreciated the significance of little changes in the environment, the beauty of simplicity. The clarity that comes to a child when there is order and there is structure to the home environment.
When I observe Otis I can see how far I have come but for him this process is completely natural.
He doesn't think about it. He goes to his shelves (in this case in our art cupboard) selects a tray, takes it to his table, sets up the activity (here it involves getting one of two more items including the place mat and water for the jar), completes the activity, packs everything away or back on the tray and returns the tray to the shelf.
In addition to doing the activity (painting with water colours) he is learning so much more.
It's not just about him. By caring for his materials and his environment he is looking after our home and others who live here.
He does his work but he also ensures the materials are ready for the next time he or someone else wants to use them. He keeps the table and his environment tidy to use again, either straight away or for later.
He knows where to find and he can access everything he needs. He knows and has a rhythm to getting, setting up his activity and to packing it away.
He doesn't need any help, he doesn't need any guidance, his is completely unobstructed. He moves quietly, calmly and confidently.
And now he is ready to move onto the next activity.