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What is the Prepared Environment? Quotes from Maria Montessori

I spend a lot of time thinking about our environment here at home. I think about why we need to put something in a low spot, or why we need to add something, or often why we need to take something away. The prepared environment is essential. It's the cornerstone of Montessori at home, and it's importance in a school cannot be overstated. But, why? What does the prepared environment include? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Those are harder questions to answer. 

10 Montessori quotes about the prepared environment - what it looks like, what it feels like, and what it includes

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Here are 10 quotes from Maria Montessori that help to answer those questions.

Environment Generally

"So the first thing his education demands is the provision of an environment in which he can develop the powers given him by nature. This does not mean just to amuse him and let him do as he likes. But it does mean that we have to adjust our minds to doing a work of collaboration with nature, to being obedient  to one of her laws, the law which decrees that development comes from environmental experience." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

"I then came to realize that everything about a child should not only be in order, but that it should be proportioned to the child's use, and that interest and concentration arise specifically from the elimination of what is confusing and superfluous."  Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

"He has no need of adult influences to call out his activity, a tranquil environment suitable to the interests of his age an the freedom to follow the promptings of his own inner need are sufficient for him."  Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents 

"Order consists in recognizing the place for each object in relation to its environment and remembering where each thing should be. This implies that one is able to orient one's self within one's environment and to dominate it in all its details. The proper environment of the soul is one in which an individual can move about with eyes closed and find, simply by reaching out his hand, anything he desires. Such an environment is necessary for peace and happiness." Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

"We must apply these principles to all surrounding objects, starting with the rugs and ending with the vases, dishes and other such things. The child must be able to use everything he comes across in the house and he must be able to do the ordinary tasks of everyday life - sweep, vacuum the rugs, was and dress himself." Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family 

"Yet its value did not depend entirely on dimensions and coloring - which are not enough in themselves - but it depended on the things provided for the children's use, for the child needs tangible things on which to focus his attention."  Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

10 Montessori quotes about the prepared environment - what it looks like, what it feels like, and what it includes

At Home

"In the home, the ideal environment for the child should also contain child-sized furniture, and utensils which he can handle himself. this is not yet practical in every home, but at least the adult can provide the child with a suitable spiritual environment." Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents 

"We must give the child an environment that he can utilize by himself: a little washstand of his own, some small chairs, a bureau with drawers he can open, objects of common use that he can operate, a small bed in which he can sleep at night under and attractive blanket he can fold and spread by himself. We must give him and environment in which he can live and play." Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family 

At School 

"He requires an education which delicately coordinates the finer movements. it is precisely to meet this need that we have in our schools child-sized furniture light to move and bright in colour...this makes him more careful and he soon learns to move his chair without making the least noise." Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents 

"A school, a place built for children, must have furniture and equipment scaled to the proper size and adapted to their physical strength, so that they can move it with the same ease with which we move the furniture in our homes." Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family  

Do you have a quote you would add to this list? 


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