This is second in a short series on Bastardized Home Montessori Preschool.
Montessori has all these code phrases and one of them is “preparing the environment” where you have a neat, orderly space with objects strategically placed for children to explore and learn. I thought I would start small by clearing off a few bookshelves for the Montessori activities, but in order to get the books into the storage closet I had to completely reorganize that. And things I couldn’t fit into the storage closet went into other closets those had to be reorganized to make things fit, etc. ad nauseum, to the point that even if I completely fail at Bastardized Home Montessori Preschool, at least my entire apartment could be featured in an issue of Real Simple. I even found the passport I lost three years ago.
The other thing I had to do before I got started was assemble some Montessori activities. By far the most helpful resource I found was Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Yearsby Elizabeth G. Hainstock. This is an updated edition of the book she first wrote in the 1960s. Probably my favorite part of the book, outside the overall detailed how-to, is she says comforting things like, “If you can’t afford Montessori nursery school for your children, don’t worry! Just do it at home! It’s rewarding and fun and just as good as paying someone else to teach them how to pour beans.” I’m paraphrasing a bit.
The other book I found helpful was Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three that had some helpful resources on ways you could rearraign your home to better promote exploritory, Montessori-style learning even in very young children.