Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time to Prepare

We have just spent a week preparing the environment, and are now moving on to the phase-in week.  The AMI website has this to say about the prepared environment:

Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work.

The prepared environment offers the essential elements for optimal development. The key components comprise the children, teacher and physical surroundings including the specifically designed Montessori educational material.

Characteristics of the prepared environment include:

Beauty, order, reality, simplicity and accessibility.
Children must be given freedom to work and move around within suitable guidelines that enable them to act as part of a social group.
Children should be provided with specifically designed materials which help them to explore their world and enable them to develop essential cognitive skills.
Mixed age groups (eg. three to six, six to nine, nine to twelve) encourage all children to develop their personalities socially and intellectually at their own pace.

I have given lots of attention to the beauty and order of the physical environment this year, as I do every year.  I painted materials, replaced worn materials, made new aprons and oilcloths, purchased beautiful items, made new materials, cleaned and the list goes on.  But,  in addition, there remains the spiritual preparation of the teacher.  What keeps us refreshed and in the moment, ready to respond to the child as that important link between the materials and the children?  I did a lot of reading this summer in preparation for parent education but I did not take out my albums once.  I will be dedicating next week to spending time with my albums.  In addition, we all need to remember to exercise, eat well, and sleep well.  Personally, I need to allow myself enough preparation time in the morning to feel fully present by the time the children arrive.  In addition, our conferences and refresher courses are excellent ways to keep challenging our intellect.  In all, this process of preparation leads us to the reason we do what we do:  the children.

No comments:

Post a Comment