The Prepared Environment – The Prepared Response

When educating a child the Montessori Way, we spend a lot of time preparing the environment. We carefully choose materials will help our child to develop the skills they are ready to develop. We place these materials carefully, neatly, so to avoid clutter and increase clarity. We select materials we know will be appealing yet have enough challenge to stimulate our child without overwhelming them. We watch our child interact with the materials and we reflect on the choices we have made.

When we speak with our child we need to ensure we have the same awareness. Is what we are saying going to help them develop skills they are ready to develop? Is it clear and understandable? Is our voice appealing to listen to and our vocabulary challenging enough to stimulate? Is what we want to say and how we plan to say it appropriate for our child now? Does our child’s body language and response show they have listened, thought about and understood what we want to say?

Planning conversations and responses enables us to have a toolkit for dealing with day-to-day situations. It helps if we keep our long-term goals for our children in mind. This in turn helps us to remain calm. When we speak clearly and think before and during the interactions we have with our children, we are modeling this behaviour for our children. We are choosing vocabulary and sentence structures that are understandable yet stimulating. We vary what we say and how we say it. We explain and above all, we give time for listening and thinking. These are the qualities we would like to see in our children, so these are the ones we must demonstrate.