The Environment for the 0-3 year old child
Children learn by watching and then doing for themselves – The Class Director gives a brief explanation or lesson when the child chooses a piece of material. Montessori “lessons”, at this age, are usually done silently or using as few words as possible, which allows the child to focus on the materials rather than on the adult. Once the child is engaged in the activity then silently move a little distance away and take the opportunity to observe the child at work.
Never do for children what they can do for themselves – Give the child the opportunity to explore and experiment; the process is more important than the final product.
Activities are selected from the shelves and returned upon finishing – The child chooses an activity and works at one of the tables or on a mat. Upon completion the entire activity is returned to the shelf before selecting another. The child will be assisted by the adult, but over time will be able to do things on their own.
Montessori materials are designed to develop specific skills.
The skills developing in the 0-3 child
Respect – for others, themselves and the environment including materials, equipment, furniture and the gardens.
Interacting with others – greetings, introductions, interruptions, consideration for others, waiting to take turns, working quietly.
Communication – learning to make eye contact, listening and focusing at appropriate times, listening to instructions, working within a group environment and negotiation skills.
Independence / Responsibility – working independently of parental support, taking initiative, tidying and putting away materials, learning to make choices.
General Awareness – of others in the world (such as cultures and dress), awareness of one’s own workspace and physical awareness. This includes moving objects and yourself quietly and deliberately through the environment.
Peace – conflict management through tolerance of others and acceptance of self, considering your own will as compared to the will of others.