Clearly, there is something about caterpillars and their ever-growing appetites for more. As the story shares: “On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomach ache.” 🐛🍫🍰🍦🧀🍕🍭🍒🌭🍉

✨Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, could have easily been written about the abundance of toys children are often left to consume in their well-intentioned play spaces. For instance, it’s not uncommon to find brimming bins and baskets was well as sensory stimulating and stacked toy shelves. And cabinets and closets filled with toys often leave parents feeling anxious and overspent. As a result, children and parents feel these “stomach aches” of sorts, too. Similarly, both the book and a lot of playrooms tell the story of more, more and more! 

In a Montessori environment, less really is more. First, activities are thoughtfully chosen to isolate specific learning. With intention, reading corners offer books that are reality based and relatable. Also, classroom surfaces are clean and curated with minimal objects intended to inspire wonder. All in all, the careful editing of the environment and the conscious preparation of the adult are woven together. Providing this balance will best serve the child. As examples, below are a few tips:

Less 👉More:

Adult 

• language 👉modeling

• interruptions 👉 observation

• judgement 👉 reflection

• complicated 👉 targeted learning

Child

• sitting 👉movement 

• distraction 👉 concentration 

• general 👉 specific 

• dependency 👉 independence 

Environment 

• clutter 👉 engagement

• stimulation 👉 appreciation 

• adult furnishings 👉 child-sized furnishings for independence

• restrictive 👉 respectful

A thoughtfully prepared environment and mindfully prepared adult will be able to provide the child with all the nourishment necessary to develop. The result is less pain more gain. If only caterpillars knew this, too! 😉

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