Montessori classrooms are referred to as the "prepared environment" The beautifully crafted environments is designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range. Dr Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more.
They contain many places for children to learn and play, in many different ways: by themselves, in pairs, in small groups, in large groups, inside, outside, at tables, on the floor. All items in the environment are scaled to the child’s size, including furniture, shelves, utensils, dishware, cleaning implements and the Montessori materials themselves. When children first enter a Montessori environment, there is an immediate and touching moment when they realize that this place is for them.
The basic components of our prepared environment are:
Freedom-The child is allowed to move freely around the classroom, talking to other children, working with any equipment he/she chooses.
Reality and Nature- An experience of the natural environment is given to help the child achieve harmony with nature.
Social Awareness -Through exercises on the care of the environment, care of self and development of social skills, the child gains social awareness.
Order- The carefully planned and structured environment develops in the child a sense of orderliness and an awareness of order in the external world.
Beauty- The environment is aesthetically pleasing and simple, developing a sense of beauty in the child.
Sense Training- This develops the child’s awareness, helps build the required concepts for learning and sounds necessary for appropriate language development.
In Montessori classrooms, children are taught how to regulate their own social interactions. Through fun role-playing activities and appropriate modeling, the teacher demonstrates the best way to respond to arguments or new situations, giving the child the ability to act confidently and pro-socially when the actual problem arises. The result is a self-regulating classroom, in which natural social tensions are resolved mostly by the children themselves.