For a while now I’ve been wanting to write a post about our prepared environment and how it evolved as Oliver grew up.
If you’re taking the first steps in the Montessori philosophy, the prepared environment is just the name of a place where the baby/kid can find everything he needs for his physical, psychic and social development (the latter applies more for schools). That’s why, the prepared environment is tidy, quiet, beautiful, everything is at baby’s hand and the materials (preferably real ones, like wood, fabric, blankets, books) are accessible.
I already wrote about Oliver’s Montessori room, which is his first prepared environment and stayed the same from birth till he was around 6 months (when he started crawling and getting places)/ Since then, our prepared environment has kept evolving and getting more interactive and soon we’ll have to montessorize the whole apartment!
Our first prepared environment was very simple. I’ll share the very first photos with you, where the room is not even finished (we did it once he was already born as he slept in his Bednest until 3 months) to show that it doesn’t need to be perfect for you to start applying the Montessori philosophy in your life. As Cristina from Montessori en Casa has told us, “the philosophy without the materials works; the materials without the philosophy don’t”.
Our first prepared environment
The floor bed. We started with a mattress on the carpet (like most montessori parents do), but we then decided to buy a wooden structure with a slatted base (around 15cm tall, like a normal mattress). Read here how we converted an IKEA bed into a Montessori one.
Mattress on the floor
Wooden frame with slatted base
The carpet. As I’m allergic to dust, I prefer to have as few carpets as possible, but unfortunately they are the warmest solution on Spanish cold marble floors. So we put a carpet next to the bed, and lots of pillows and blankets on it until Oliver learnt not to fall off the bed.
A cotton play mat. This is his play area, where at the beginning Oliver spent lots of time looking at his Montessori mobiles (if you click on the link, you’ll find the first the tutorials for the first three Montessori mobile, the forth is on its way). In the left photo, you can see the first mobile, the second in the right one.
Play area without the mirror and first Montessori mobile
Play area with the mirror and second Montessori mobile
The mirror. At the beginning we didn’t have a mirror (as you can see in the above left picture), but we added it quite soon. Oliver loved watching himself in the mirror and during his belly time (often) he practiced lifting his neck in order to see himself.
Shelves. At the beginning we didn’t use them, and that’s why they’re empty in some pictures, with still packaged frames on them. I then put these pictures in the frames, but they were purely aesthetic, as Oliver didn’t care for them until much later.
This is all, quite simple indeed. I had thought of adding an armchair for nighttime feeds, but I then noticed that I anyway always sat on his bed.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to contact me, I’ll be happy to help. Sometimes going against the flow might seem difficult, but this is one of those things that is more difficult in theory than in practice. Just start doing it!