We have four primary values that guide what we teach and how we interact with each other at Piedmont Hills Montessori Academy. Each of our values reflect Montessori theory and traditional practices.
Over the past few months, we have highlighted the first three of these values and how they impact everyday life here at PHMA. Today we are wrapping up our mini series with a deeper look at the nurturing environment value. We’ll take a look at what it is, what its benefits are, and how we foster a nurturing environment at PHMA.
Before we dive in, we’ll share a brief summary of the three values we’ve already explored.
Self-directed learning provides children with the freedom to learn about what interests them, within limits. It encourages problem solving, ignites a love for learning, develops long-term focus, and fosters a sense of belonging.
Guided exploration offers a supervised environment for children to explore a specific concept. It encourages autonomy, feeds curiosity, stimulates critical thinking, encourages collaboration, and develops new skills.
Free play includes any activity that is unstructured, voluntary, and child-initiated, allowing kids to develop their imaginations, learn how to interact with one another, and solve problems on their own. It develops imagination, creativity, physical activity, social and communication skills.
Our values work together and lay the foundation for the nurturing environment we seek to uphold at PHMA. Let’s take a closer look at our next and final value, a nurturing environment.
What is a Nurturing Environment?
The definition of nurture is “to care for and encourage the growth or development of.” You can nurture all kinds of things, and you probably already do, whether consciously or subconsciously, at your own home. You can nurture kindness, independence, a giving spirit, creativity, and a slew of other things. Furthermore, nurturing children is simply caring for them and providing them with a safe place to experience life, big and small emotions, and growth.
At PHMA, our goal is to nurture children’s imaginations and ignite their curious minds to discover and explore the world around them.
Benefits of a Nurturing Environment
A nurturing environment is the foundation of self-discovery, and it benefits children in so many different ways. It may even prevent certain negative outcomes. According to Parent Infant Foundation, “Early nurturing care reduces the likelihood of risky and antisocial behavior later on.” While we don’t have time to list every single benefit in this blog post, we will highlight a few of the biggest ones.
A nurturing environment gives children:
- The freedom to be themselves
- The space to discover their interests, skills, and talents
- A safe place to make mistakes and try again
- Room to process their emotions
- Confidence to try new things
- A chance to be heard
- A peaceful place to play, socialize, and learn
How We Foster a Nurturing Environment at PHMA
At PHMA, we strive to create a nurturing environment for every single one of our students. In addition to fostering a safe place for little ones, we also focus on nurturing their imaginations. Imagination is like a muscle; the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. And imagination isn’t just something for children; imaginative play actually helps kids develop the creativity and problem-solving skills they’ll use as adults.
In addition to encouraging imaginations, we prioritize balancing independent discovery with child-centered academic learning. This is where guided exploration and free play come in. We give students the space to explore topics that interest them independently, and we also guide them in discovering new things that they would not find on their own. Our goal is for children to be excited about learning. Oftentimes, the excitement of discovering something new makes us forget we’re learning in the first place. Discovery and freedom in play makes learning natural and fun.
Day in and day out, we ignite curious minds to discover and explore the world using their five senses and a variety of activities and curricula. No day looks the same at PHMA, and we don’t subscribe to one way of learning. After all, we understand that children learn differently, and we can all learn from each other. We explore the world together, learning to encourage each other when an activity might not come as easy for someone else.
Montessori-Based Child Care in San Jose, CA
For over 30 years, we have been serving families in San Jose and the surrounding communities with high-quality childcare services that foster the emotional, social, physical, and academic development of toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners. If you have any questions about who we are, how we teach, or what makes us different from other childcare centers, we’d love to connect. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a tour of our facilities!