Parents are forever asking just what they should be doing in the home to make it more Montessori-like. Well, your teachers want to ask you, what do you actually mean? We’ll begin this important discussion acknowledging that there needs to be a powerful home – school connection by explaining, very simply, a few of the elements of our prepared environments that make us unique. The prepared environment of the classroom is the foundation of learning experiences for the Montessori child. It is orderly; it provides freedom of movement, all materials are easily accessible, the teachers are encouraging, and the child, under the teachers’ guidance is provided every opportunity to explore his or her areas of interest. IT is an environment free of turmoil, and if there is conflict, all the participants are given an opportunity to voice their side of the issue and, with the assistance of a teacher, reach a resolution.
Whether a student enters our school at age 2.9 or 5 years of age, the underlying parameters of the prepared environment are always the same. Always encouraging, always treating the student with unconditional respect, and at the same time setting an example that teaches him/her how to interact with others. That encouraging environment creates the perfect learning opportunity and through example, helps the student develop self-confidence while setting him or her on a path towards mature objective thought processes based on respect for others.
When new knowledge is acquired within degrees of relative ease based on interest, the student builds self-confidence that makes him interested in acquiring additional knowledge. That self-confidence helps the student to develop and follow a path of choice. Through dialogue, direct teaching, questioning, and interacting with others, the child develops critical thinking skills that will serve her all her life. Being treated with respect helps the student develop mature thought processes and respect for the thoughts and rights of others while providing a foundation that will enable the child to become a thoughtful, objective, and caring child that will carry these qualities into adulthood.
We realize that our little Utopias are but a small portion of the 24-hour day. Just as the student learns from the prepared environment of the classroom, the child learns far more from the environment of the home. That is why Montessori rightly asserted, “The parent is the first teacher of the child.”
During the coming months, we will have lots of opportunity to dialogue with you about how to spark and retain your child’s interest to help them retain the positive social and educational experiences that bloom in abundance here at Country Village Montessori School. It can best be stated that your home should provide a supportive Montessori environment. Sound parenting principles, realistic expectations of both your child and the school, leading by example, are but a few of the ways the connection between school and home can be strengthened.