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“The Prepared Environment intrinsically fosters creativity, the foundation for all human progress. Montessori cautions that the power of imagination will develop from whatever the child finds in the environment. It is creative people who will continue to advance civilization. For this reason educators must take care that the precious commodity of creativity is maximized rather than wasted; art, music, literature, poetry, invention, medicine and science are the products of creativity.” ~ Maria Montessori
Preparing Montessori Children for the 21st Century
(True story from one of our toddler community members, now enrolled in our Primary Program)
Hi there, I’m a little over two years old. I am a student in the Strawberry Community. One evening, while waiting for mom, I decided to assist my teacher with cleaning. After sweeping for a short time, to my surprise, for reasons I’m not sure, I had an urge to try something different.
- Critical Thinking – Can the broom stand alone, free from my hands?
- Adaptability – I move and reposition the broom to various locations in the room, does this help?
- Analyzing & Assessing – Is it possible? Over and over again, I tilt, lift and shift while slowly pulling my arm away
- Initiative- I trust myself – I have the confidence to try something new, I am in a community that respects and empowers
- Curiosity & Imagination – I am inquisitive, I want to know, is it possible?
The broom was his “work”. He is in an environment that fosters creativity and independence; he is left alone to analyze and assess as he formulates a plan. He was able to work uninterrupted; concentrating on the task at hand. He remained focused well over 20 minutes showing no signs of frustration or fatigue, he was engaged in “purposeful work”. He was intrinsically motivated, the absence of clapping and cheering allowed him to remain focused. Despite the fact that the broom continued to fall, perseverance triumphed.
This work was assisting in the development of his coordinated movement, eye-and-hand coordination and concentration, he was forming his own ideas relevant to human life, the ability to think and reason coherently and logically.
-Written by Ms. Tami, Owner/Head of School, Healthy Beginnings Montessori House
It’s not uncommon to see small flower arrangements adorning tables in a Montessori classroom. This is a work called “flower arranging”, and is a favorite for any young child. Each week, our families participate in a “flower basket” program, and bring fresh flowers for the classroom on a rotating basis. The flowers are then used for flower arranging. It’s impressive to watch a child carefully engage in this exercise. They start with putting on an apron, and then fetch water in the small pitcher provided. Now, they must control their movement while walking across the room without spilling water. If there is any water left in their small pitcher, they pour it into the tiny funnel placed in a small vase. They repeat this step several times until the vase is full. Once the flowers have been arranged, the child will display them on the shelf. Sometimes, they change the location of the vases throughout the work cycle. Now, they must restore the work area in it’s original condition. Cleaning up is a big job. They must dump and wipe up all extra water on the table, then Swiffer the excess water from the floor which is usually a large area. It’s not uncommon for a child to be engaged in this work for over an hour.
What are they learning while arranging flowers? They are refining gross and fine motor skills, concentration, self-regulation, control of movement, sequencing, eye-and-hand coordination and practical life skills.
In the toddler community the focus is on “care of self”, “care of environment” and “grace and courtesy”. Activities such as this help the children work with purpose and concentration as they move about the classroom.
“A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.” -Dr. Maria Montessori