The Montessori Classroom – A Prepared Environment

Montessori classrooms are based on a three year age span corresponding to the stages of growth and development of the child. Children of different ages (2 ½ – 6) learn from each other and naturally acquire social and academic skills.

The classroom is beautiful in its simplicity, orderly and provides the freedom for each child to work according to his needs. Each classroom operates on the principle of freedom within limits which is based on core Montessori beliefs – respect for each other and for the environment.
The children are free to move about, to work with one two others or in groups. Socialization is very important at this age and as the children discuss their activities and learn from each other, they develop the basics of co-operation, sharing and relating to one another. Within the limits of social discipline each child may choose his own work, according to his interests and may pursue an activity for as long as he wishes.

The Materials

The Montessori materials invite activity, require manipulation with the hands, and contain a control of error enabling the child to readily see and correct any errors. Apart from conveying basic educational information to the child, the materials are designed to develop his senses and to refine and co-ordinate his movements in preparation for writing, reading and arithmetic. Through the use of the materials the child is able to solve problems independently, develop analytical thinking skills and experience the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. As the child’s exploration continues the materials interrelate and build on each other.

“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”

The Teacher

The role of the adult in a Montessori environment is to observe and to respond to the needs and interest of each child. The teacher is viewed more as a friendly helper; there to guide the child according to his individual pace and rhythm, rather than a teacher to be obeyed. Her role is to encourage positive attitudes, to create strong individuals and to awaken the curiosity of the child and inspire a thirst for learning. The teacher guides the child through specifically graded learning activities. She functions as a dynamic link between the child and the environment.