Creating a “Yes” Space, What Is It and How Do We Make One?
You probably have heard about the “Yes” space in a Montessori environment, if not, that’s okay because we will talk about it in our blog. We also briefly talked about the “Yes” space in our previous blog “Montessori At Home”. According to the Montessori approach and Montessori at home, our children need a space where they can explore, interact and learn with their environment freely without any interruptions.
A “yes” space it is designated area where we are okay with the baby or child exploring, moving and interacting independently without constant supervision or correction. In this “Yes” space, we should be comfortable with our baby or child reaching and touching everything with little intervention from the adult saying “no”, “don’t do that, don’t touch that or be careful”; hence, the name “yes” space. This space is created under the Montessori ideology that states that babies learn best through self-discovery and exploration in a safe space and engaging environment that fosters independence, creativity and confidence.
When creating a “yes” space at home, we must consider the child’s needs, abilities and interests. The space should be designed to provide opportunities for exploration and discovery while also ensuring safety and security of our baby or child. So, we must remove any obstacles or hazards that can obstruct the babies learning or endanger our child. One way to do this is to remove all possible objects that are clearly visible and obvious to us in the “yes” space that we have designated or created. Another thing to do is to get down to your baby’s or child’s height or level, crouch down and observe hazards or objects that they could potentially see and grab and cover all electrical outlets. Remember that safety is the priority as this space is meant for the baby to explore freely with little supervision.
Creating a “yes” space at home has many benefits for the development of our baby and/or child that they will use later in their life. Some of these benefits include:
- Concentration and better leaning: In a Montessori approach, a space with order and simplicity are the key components of a prepared environment to help the child focus better on one activity at a time, learn it well and master it. Therefore, a yes space should be uncluttered and free of unnecessary distractions to allow the baby to focus on exploring and learning.
- Encouragement of independence: A “yes” space is designed to encourage independence and self-discovery. Baby and children should be encouraged to take ownership of their space, to care for their toys and materials, to make decisions independently and to solve problems they might encounter in their safe “yes” space.
- Fosters and develops creativity: A “yes” space allows our baby or child to explore and interact freely with their environment, which leads to situations where they can imagine things, do some pretend play, create their own activities and solve problems in their own manner.
How do we go about making a “yes” space at our home? Even though there is not a single rule that says how big the space should, or where is the best spot in the house to make one, we should keep in mind that this space could be as big or small as we want or the space at our home allows it, and that it could be any space of our home where it will be safe for our baby or child to play and interact with his/her environment freely.
- You can choose a space in your baby’s room or in your living room, or an open space in the house where they can be safe and able to interact with their surroundings. Try to choose a place where it is not too busy or transited at home.
- Try to find baby sized furniture and low shelves to incorporate in the “yes” space for you to set up few and simple activities on it for the baby or child to engage with (type of activity will vary on the baby’s age and signs of interest).
- According to the Montessori approach, you want to avoid using playpens, baby boxes, or cribs as they constrain the baby’s movements and exploration. The only time you should use a playpen is when parents are ironing, cooking or going to the bathroom.
- Try to choose simple and non-toxic wooden toys, FDA silicone toys, fabrics, a bottle filled with beans, rice, lentils or similar objects for texture to incorporate them to be part of their activities.
In summary, A “yes” space according to the Montessori philosophy, it is a safe and free space that can be set up at home for our babies and children to explore, move around and interact freely with their environment and activities presented to them in this space. This “yes” space provides room for our babies and children to explore with the minimum intervention from adults, some little supervision, and the avoidance from saying “no or don’t do that” to our child. The Montessori approach follows the ideology of simplicity in order to avoid overstimulating the child, distracting the child or making the child lose interest which can intervene with their learning process. Remember that when setting up a “yes” space, safety is priority so remove all possible hazards and objects that can be dangerous for our children or intervene with their learning.
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