“The greatness of human personality begins at the hour of birth” (Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori, chapter 1) Welcoming a child into this world and into one’s home is one of the happiest moments in anyone’s life. A new life together as a family means parents embark on a significant new challenge to promote their child’s healthy physical, mental and emotional growth and development. As a child’s first contact in the world, a parent’s role is to expose him to age appropriate challenges, situations and prepare an appropriate and realistic environment that will allow him to self-explore and develop independently and with confidence. In this essay, I will consider how the prepared environment relates to a child's development by considering the elements, namely freedom, order, beauty, nature, social and intellectual aspects. I would like to begin with the importance of parental bonding with a new born as love and attachment are very key factors for the infant’s development. Hands on parenting where they spend a lot of time close to the child and provide love and comfort through gentle touch is known to have beneficial impacts on a child. During the first year, being the most important for the brain development of the child, they must provide a rich and a stimulating environment. (Ref: notes, Daureena Facchini). The mother typically provides the child with food and physical comfort, but the father must also contribute to the wellbeing of the child and the mother and serve as a protective buffer between them and the rest of the world. Having direct contact with the infant nurtures this bond by attending to a child’s biological and psychological needs. The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult. (The Secret of Childhood, chapter 18) Dr. Montessori always emphasized the importance of a “prepared environment" and I believe this is the most important aspect in her method of education. Her concept was that “the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child”. In her book Education for a New World, she states that the infant’s natural environment is the world itself and the manners, habit and customs can be derived from experiencing the world around him. (Ref: notes, Daureena Facchini) “If what we have to do is to help man’s mental life, then the first lesson we must learn is that the tiny child’s absorbent mind finds all its nutrients in its surroundings. Here it has to locate itself and build itself up from what it takes in. Especially at the beginning of life we must, therefore, make the environment as interesting and attractive as we can.” (The Absorbent Mind, Pg. 88) I understand from Dr. Montessori’s quote that a child learns and absorbs from everything around them and hence providing an attractive and pleasing environment, whether at home or elsewhere is critical to a child’s development. As the child grows and changes, the environment must also change to reflect his physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs. Dr. Montessori believed that for any activity or learning to be chosen by a child, it must be inviting and attractive and set in an appropriate environment. I would like to discuss the principles of the prepared environment according to Dr. Montessori. Freedom: An infant must be allowed to move freely, explore his environment and develop a sense of independence. Dr. Montessori believed that children should not be confined to places. For example she felt a child would feel caged in a crib and parents should instead place a child on a bed on the floor to let them move freely. This concept worked miraculously in my own life even though we were at the time unaware of the Montessori learning principles. Our daughter was very restless and would cry uncontrollably when she first started sleeping in her crib. Contrary to common wisdom, we moved her to a bed on the floor. It only took...
Bibliography: Montessori, M., The Absorbent Mind - The Clio Montessori Series. (1988), ABC-Clio Ltd, Oxford, UK
Montessori, M., The Discovery of the Child - The Clio Montessori Series (1997), ABC-Clio Ltd, Oxford, England
Montessori, M., The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori (1966), Ballantine Books, Fides Publishers, New York
Daureena Facchini, Reference notes on Dr. Montessori
Please join StudyMode to read the full document