Do you have an overactive child that you’d like to help calm themselves? Do you want to create a calming, yet stimulating environment for your preschooler to learn and grow in?
Having the right kind of environment for your preschooler has been proven to aid in the development of children. For years, Montessori schools have been practicing this through certain activities and materials that do just this.
For children with high levels of anxiety, anger, energy, or even those with autism, this kind of environment is imperative to help them stay focused and most importantly, to learn how to calm themselves. Keep reading to learn more about creating a calm yet stimulating environment for your preschooler.
What Is Calm, Yet Stimulating Environment?
“To assist a child, we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” – Maria Montessori
A calm yet stimulating environment should be prepared specifically for children. It is a space that provides experiences that meet the developmental needs of each child but doesn’t confuse or overload them, causing a sensory overload, which can result in panic attacks and does carry forward into adult life.
A calm and stimulating environment should be a place of utmost respect for everyone and everything. It should embody free choice, obviously within some limits. And most of all, this space should stimulate a child without overwhelming them with too much to do or too many things going on at once.
The appearance of this type of environment will look different, depending on if you are a parent or an educator. At home, this can be done in a playroom, by decorating with neutral colours, age-appropriate materials that encourage exploration and development.
Why Having A Properly Prepared Environment Is Essential:
Dr. Montessori observed that both movement and use of the hand are essential for the child’s development. A properly prepared environment provides opportunities for the child to do what meets his needs and allows him to develop freely.
Science has shown that mainstream classrooms are often over-stimulating, being filled with too many posters, terribly bright lighting, and constant chatter from children. This can cause a sensory overload, which can harm a child’s development, particularly in the developmental years.
Too much is often more harmful than not enough when it comes to preparing a learning environment for preschoolers. To enable better growth and development, Montessori preschool curriculums work to create a balance between stimulation and calmness.
How To Create A Calm Yet Stimulating Environment For Your Preschool: In Montessori, we take the original approach to having a prepared environment for every child to explore. To do this, the designated area, and materials you’ve chosen should contribute to all levels of development, including:
• Development of Practical Life Skills
• Sensorial Development
• Arithmetic/Mathematical Development
• Language Development
• Cultural Development
• Creative Development
• Movement and Motor Skill Development
• Peace Education Development
• Observational Development
In a prepared preschool program environment, there should be activities and materials that are tailored to ages 3-6. The room should be bright (natural light is better than fluorescent), clutter-free, with walls painted in a calming neutral tone.
Every activity and material should have a purpose that is geared to help a child explore and strengthen their natural talents. Having furniture and shelving that are appropriately sized for children’s access is also key.
Calming And Stimulating Activities For Preschoolers
If children are engaged in activities that have a purpose this calms them down as it meets their inner needs of kinesthetic stimulation, rather than just audio-visual stimulation. Again, this will look different depending on the actual environment.
At School or Daycare
At daycare or preschool curriculum, there are lots of daily living skills that can be a great starting point. Really anything that involves using the mind or senses has the ability to both stimulate development and calm a child.
Mindfulness practices not only help a child to keep calm and focused, but this is a well-known healthy coping mechanism for adults too! This can improve a child’s emotional and mental well-being, which is a gift that will keep on giving throughout the rest of that child’s life.
Sensory activities like a nature walk or a sensory box that is filled with different materials that interact with the five senses: touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell.
Some other ideas to add to your preschool lesson plans:
• Drawing, painting, and other creative activities
• Warm-up games like a math problem, grammar problem, or a game of “Simon Says”. • Materials like fidget spinners, blocks, creative materials.
In the home, other activities help in life-skill development as well, such as helping in the kitchen, doing laundry, smaller cleaning tasks, and other chores that your child can do. N fact, this doesn’t just help their development for education but also helps them to be more confident and independent.
For calming and stimulating activities at home, play games that are mentally and visually stimulating. “I Spy” is a fun way to get your toddler to hone their focus and visual reach by spotting certain things. You can also use sensory toys like Playdough or other arts and crafts materials. This is a fun and exciting way to stimulate your child’s development while letting them calm themselves.
Here are some other calm yet stimulating things to do with your preschooler:
• Breathing exercises or a guided meditation
• Yoga poses or exercise games
• Reading a book aloud or singing
Want To Learn More About Montessori Preschool Programs? Join Us! At Montessori Professional Training Canada, we practice the art of understanding a child and catering to their specific needs. Enrolling your children in Montessori can give them a solid foundation to build on in their lives.
To help you do that properly, we offer a course specifically for parents and educators just like you. Our course, Foundations in Montessori that offers great ideas to create an environment that meets the child’s needs and makes them happy, calm, and satisfied.
Join our course today to learn all the ways you can provide a calming yet stimulating environment for your children or students today!