The Prepared Environment for outdoor Spaces : Montessori Ideas for Your Backyard

Montessori is not restricted to your indoor spaces — there is a lot that can be done in the great outdoors! Just as in your indoor spaces, you can prepare your outside environment by creating what I call “yes” spaces. These are spaces that your children are allowed — actually, encouraged — to explore freely.

When you’re considering how to prepare your outdoor environment with “yes” spaces, there are 6 main things to keep in mind:

  1. Opportunities for taking part in the care of the environment.
  2. Opportunities for hands-on, child-led learning.
  3. Opportunities for gross motor movement.
  4. Opportunities for practicing fine motor practical life skills.
  5. Opportunities for child-led imaginative play.
  6. Opportunities for getting creative.

The possibilities for providing for those opportunities are endless and vary greatly based on the outdoor spaces available to you. Some of you have large yards attached to your property that make preparing your environment simply a matter of deciding what to put where. Others of you live in apartments without dedicated outdoor space, so you’ll have to get a bit more creative and bring these principles with you to public parks or shared outdoor spaces. As with all things Montessori, having the right mindset is more important than having the “best” materials.

I’ve created a simple guide with ideas for providing those opportunities as well as questions to ask yourself about your own outdoor space that can help you prepare your environment to create those “yes” spaces. This mini course is ideal for the parents of children ages 1.5 to 6 years old.

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