Creating a Yes Space in Montessori

Do you ever notice days when you constantly say ‘no’ to your children? If yes, you may feel tired of always playing fun police, and enforcing boring rules children may not want to follow. 

As difficult as it may seem to be, boundaries and rules are required for maintaining decorum, establishing self-discipline, and providing a safe environment. 

But tangibly exploring new objects is the child’s way of making sense of and developing an understanding of the world around them. 

The Montessori method of education developed by Dr. Maria Montessori is a century-old pedagogical tool that promotes self-directed play and autodidactic education. 

During overwhelming instances where your no’s do cease to work, a Montessori Playpen or a Montessori ‘Yes Space’ may come to your aid. 

The Montessori Method of education provides children with a specifically designed Montessori Prepared Environment that promotes self-directed holistic education in children from a very young age. 

Just like the Montessori method of education, the goal of the ‘Yes Space’ is to intervene as little as possible, allowing your child to learn and play unattended. 

If you are a parent or immediate caregiver who wants to incorporate the Montessori ‘yes space’ the Montessori way, below is a step-by-step guide to creating a ‘Yes Space’ for your child. 

What is a Yes Space, Exactly? 

Similar to the Montessori Prepared Environment, a Yes Space is a place where the child has complete mobility to move around, interact with objects, and indulge in self-directed play. 

You might have come across the term ‘Yes space’ in different Montessori or RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) communities. 

This concept was developed by Janet Lansbury an RIE expert and an author that allows parents to set up a child-safe and child-friendly home environment. 

In simpler terms, a Yes Space is a safe environment where the child has the freedom to move around with almost no supervision. 

This particular incorporates all the components that accommodate all the child’s developmental needs and allow them to develop the quality of confidence and independence from a very young age. 

Why should you incorporate the Yes Space at your home?

Children often rely heavily on their senses to obtain information and make sense of the world that surrounds them, hence allowing them to freely move around is integral for holistic development. 

Homes, when not correctly baby proofed can be hazardous and dangerous for infants and toddlers to freely move around. 

Valuable items, sharp furniture, and electrical appliances or cords can pose harm to the child’s safety. 

During stuffy situations where you find your tiny infant or toddler crawling under sofas, or digging around electrical appliances, saying “no” often seems to be the only plausible solution. 

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the child for the initial six years has an absorbent mind and is highly susceptible to the stimuli present in the surrounding environment. 

According to the Montessori Philosophy, physical independence during the first plane of development is pivotal for the child’s development process. 

The Montessori Method of education promotes children to freely move around and independently maneuver Montessori materials and Montessori toys.

Based on Montessori Principles, things that do not contain the child in the prepared environment can often hinder the holistic development process of the child. 

The Yes Space in a Montessori Environment is a great alternative to restricting situations that allows your child to independently and willingly explore their surroundings. 

The Yes space provides children with complete autonomy to expand their knowledge and diversify their educational experiences without adult intervention. 

Providing your child with a yes space promotes them to actively touch, sense, and explore new stimuli. 

Hence, the Yes space is a versatile, effective, and efficient way of making your child independent, confident, and self-reliant from a very young age. 

What are the benefits of incorporating the Yes Space in your home environment?

Creating and establishing the Yes Space for your child helps them develop confidence, and independence, and provides them with a sense of freedom. 

The Yes Space promotes uninterrupted play which facilitates the development of fine motor skills and gross motor skills in children. 

But the benefits of Yes Space in a Montessori Home Environment are not limited to physical development, this safe space promotes children to engage all their senses, hence facilitating sensory development. 

Along with sensory development, the Yes Space also provides children with free reign over their imagination, promoting the enhancement of creative imagination without getting reprimanded by their parents. 

Lastly, the Yes Space also allows parents to create and provide their children with a safe and child-friendly learning environment.

How to create a Yes Space the Montessori Way?

The first step of creating a Yes Space in your Montessori Home Environment is to choose an area where you might want your child to freely move. 

The selected area should be large enough for the child to autonomously explore and be baby proofed and child-friendly to avoid any unintended accidents. 

The Yes Space should not be isolated from the family, to allow your child to interact with family members for the development of social skills. 

Along with finding a spacious area, another point of interest should be the cleanliness of the Yes Space. 

Lastly, one of the most important factors to consider is the safety factor of Yes Place to promote the uninterrupted independent play. 

Here are some essential steps to follow to effectively babyproof your Yes Space:

Furniture Safety

It is important to make sure that the furniture in the child’s environment is child-safe, sturdy, and cannot be tipped over. 

To avoid any unintended accidents you can install L Brackets on heavy furniture like shelves or wardrobes. 

For appliances like televisions, you can install furniture straps and anchor straps to avoid any unintended accidents. 

To prevent the child from getting into cabinets and shelves accommodating valuable items, you can attach safety latches or locks. 

Setting up Gates

Baby gates are the best way of preventing the child from venturing out on unsafe expeditions. 

There are several baby gates available in the market that have different attachments and even functions. 

It is best to choose a baby gate that accommodates all your family’s needs and requirements. 

It is important to note that excess baby gates can be too restrictive, contrasting the Yes space philosophy. Hence it is best to attach baby gates in areas where it is absolutely necessary, like the stairs or near the kitchen. 

Covering Electrical Plugs

This should be done not only in the Yes Space but in the entire house to avoid any accidents. 

There are a plethora of plug covers available in the market that serve different purposes. 

You can invest in self-closing outlet covers, traditional socket covers, cover boxes, and other socket plugs to promote optimum safety. 

Along with covering all the electrical outlets, sockets, and plugs you should also hide any cables or wires. 

You can use electrical tape on cords, cables, or wires to hide and cover them to avoid the child from getting into direct contact. 

Other Factors to remember when creating a Yes space

It is best not to confuse the Yes Space as a punishment place where they have to sit for hours on end without engaging stimuli. 

The Yes Space should be engaging, approachable, and definitely entertaining in order to attract the child and keep the child busy. 

The Yes Space should incorporate age-appropriate toys to promote physical, cognitive, social, fine motor, and gross motor development in children. 

To keep things interesting, you can utilize toy rotation in order to minimize the toy clutter as well as promoting the child to explore new information as they play along. 

When creating a Yes space for your child it is important to be flexible and adapt to the child’s age-appropriate needs.

Another way of amplifying your child’s educational and play experience is by incorporating Montessori Books. 

These books provide your infants and toddlers with the right information to develop and enhance their vocabulary from a very young age.