Julie Mitaro, Founder of The Prepared Nest
I founded The Prepared Nest to help parents, grandparents, and caregivers understand how much they can enrich the child’s development by applying Montessori principles at home. A home is not a classroom; it is the child’s first and most important learning environment. Through The Prepared Nest website and social media, I share daily experiences and activities with young children and show how we incorporate Montessori principles in our lives. The stories and posts are meant to reveal the world through the eyes of the child while the Montessori inspiration helps nurture the child’s fullest potential. We feature activities, toy and book recommendations, room design and set-up.
As background, I am an AMI trained Montessori educator, a former Primary Guide for ages 2.5 to 7 years, a parent of three grown children and new grandparent. Montessori captured my heart at age 19 when I was studying early childhood education at the University of Michigan. I really didn’t know much about Montessori, but I was certain I wanted to work with young children. I was hired as an assistant in a Primary classroom led by an accomplished AMI Directress. From that year on, I knew I would never look at children and their development the same way.
I continued my schooling in the evenings and worked full-time as an assistant at the Primary and Elementary levels, including a partial year assisting Mary Raudonis Loew in Charleston, SC. From there, I made my way to the Toronto Montessori Institute and, by 24, had completed my AMI Primary training under the direction of Audrey Sillick, Judy Buckman and Renilde Montessori, Maria Montessori’s granddaughter. At the time, I didn’t have the perspective to fully understand these ‘formative’ years in my Montessori career; I had been assisting and training with some of the most respected, talented and knowledgeable AMI Montessorians in the world, and it became a part of me.
The next few years were exciting! I was leading my own Primary classes, married and became a stay-at-home Montessori mom to our three wonderful children. I continued to come up with creative ways to foster our children’s natural development with Montessori principles guiding me. As our children’s rooms became more attractive, calm, organized and purposeful, I felt the rest of our home could benefit from some of the same. And so my love for designing, renovating and decorating had begun – with Montessori’s influence at its very heart.
Dr. Montessori asked that we ‘look at the child’ and observe his/her natural learning abilities, especially in the first critical years of life – birth to six. The young child develops according to his/her innate tendencies and natural urges and we must continue to provide the opportunities, experiences and environments that will meet those needs, beginning at home. The Prepared Nest is here to help you prepare –yourself and your environment – one day and one space at a time!
“The child has a different relation to his environment from ours … the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.” ~ Dr. Maria Montessori