Mairi Baker, Director Birth-3 Environment
Henri Mattisse said: “Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play”. These are without a doubt the characteristics we observe in the children in our Birth to Three communities.
Throughout the history of mankind, humans have relied on their powers of observation and their creative ability to adapt to allow them to survive and thrive in nature and within complex social environments. The child observes in the same way early man did. They observe and, through the process of adaptation, create themselves from within to increasingly become a part of their environment.
Maria Montessori coined the term the ‘Absorbent Mind’ to describe how the young child’s brain effortlessly soaks in every detail of their environment so the child can create themselves and develop their intelligence from the resources and feedback within their environment.
The prepared environment invites the child to become engaged and to explore the possibilities of the available materials. The materials entice the child to move towards the objects of interest which in turn enables the child to explore and develop the creative possibilities of their own movements and interactions with the environment.
As the child interacts and experiments with the environment they absorb the characteristics of the materials enabling them to create novel ways of using, combining and interacting with the materials.
Children create social spaces within the environment allowing them to explore concepts of connectedness and belonging.
The mathematically thinking mind allows the child to create and solve new problems – if the balls fit through the holes, will the beads? If the spherical beads fit will the cubes?
Look! These beads also fit on my fingertips…
The freedom to experiment with creative arts such as music, dance, cooking, drawing and painting provides the child with opportunities use their senses to refine their movements, to learn about their environment and to adapt to their surrounding culture.
“We must create eyes that see, a soul that feels and a hand that obeys.” Maria Montessori.