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Words to Inspire - about Creating a Montessori Home!

Otis washing table with red bucket at How we Montessori

I often feature images of gorgeous Montessori home environments. Today I'm sharing words. Words from some well-known Montessorians that I've been reading. I hope you find these quotes as useful and inspiring as I do! 


"A rich environment, full of interesting activities, having to do with music, art, history, geography, science, language and math, inspires curiosity, fosters broad interests, and extends the child's experience. Observations of children in such homes and schools have taught us to focus on the preparation of an early environment, rather than trying to "teach". This allows the child to choose and to teach herself. The adult's challenge is to be sure that the environment offers all the key experiences necessary for laying this foundation. 

Rather than relying on verbal lessons given by an adult, or computers and TV, or videos (or other examples of passive learning), we provide the child with real life activities from which she will really learn and remember what she learns. We can, with planning, create an environment that is rich in experiments, games, materials, and books which the child can select as an interest arises, providing valuable experiences of the hand and mind working together for an intelligent purpose.

Everyone at every age is affected by their environment. Habits of organizing the environment reduce stress and aid the development of an organized, efficient, and creative mind. The Chinese art of placement of Feng Shui, teaches that clutter, even hidden under a bed or piled on top of bookcases is bad for a person. A child who joins in the arrangement of an environment, at school or at home, and learns to select a few lovely things instead of piles of unused toys, books, clothes, etc., will be aided in many ways with this help in creating good work habits, concentration, and a clear, uncluttered and peaceful mind." - Child of the World, For Ages 3-12+ Years 2009-2010, Michael Olaf. 


"The environment is the source for creative process. We do not mean necessarily the art shelf, scissors and paste, clay, random play, fingerpaints, musical instruments, etc. These, of course, play a role in development. But the Montessori formula is simple. The child's creative integration is an integration of self, which comes from participation in the real from a very young age

The home environment, like the Montessori materials, has its specific use. The child's potential is relayed by the adult's permission to use the environment, by the constant showing of the child how. How to knead and bake bread. How to clean a fireplace. How to wrap his clay so that it won't dry out. All the real functions of the environment when shown to the child give him endless possibilities within the limits of how real things are used. As they grow up, the children will be able to use their environment with great sureness, they will build on their skills and more second-naturedly work into areas of innovation. Even fantasies are enriched by a firm grounding in the real. Having a tea party, or playing house are play experiences much improved when the child has already done the real counterparts in their home or school - making real tea, cleaning a real home." - David Kahn, Creativity, Self and Environment in Montessori Talks to Parents, Series Two, Volume Three.


"Parents should come to understand that the children are trying to build themselves to become independent, independent from the person who feeds them, who clothes them. We should give them the chance to do it by themselves. Parents should encourage the child. The child as young as 4 can make his own bed, and loves to do it. But if the mother comes and says "Oh, this is all crooked!" then it's finished. There should not be criticism. The effort alone, the will to do it is enough. It can be repeated another day. "Let's change the linen, let's do it together." And through repetition, the child sees, perfects." - Margot Waltuch, The Practical LIfe Exercises, The Home Environment, Montessori Talks to Parents, Series One, Volume One. 


"Montessori believed in concrete approaches. A major expression of your feeling for the child is demonstrated through the kind of home you make for him - not only from the point of view of facilitating his independence but also in communicating your awareness of his smaller but nevertheless important self. 

Truly if the child's sensitive period for wanting to dress and care for himself is met with patience, love and a prepared environment, there can be no obstacle to his independence.

It is essential that the bathroom be prepared for a child's needs. Can they reach the sink, turn on the water, and reach their toothbrush and toothpaste without help? Can they reach the soap? Is there a special and consistent place they can reach for their towel and washcloth? Can they reach the toilet paper when sitting on the toilet? Most parents provide bathroom stools, but small wobbly stools often do not provide enough secure, comfortable space for bathroom functions. Montessori felt that there should be a child's corner in every room of the house." - Barbara Kahn, A Child's Home Environment, The Home Environment, Montessori Talks to Parents, Series One, Volume One.


These are all from publications that are out of print so if you are wanting further details please let me know or ask an experienced Montessori teacher or friend. The Montessori Talks to Parents series is available at the NAMTA here

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