Prepared Environment

“Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words , but by experiences in the environment.”

~ Maria Montessori ~

The Montessori teaching environment is quite different from the traditional classroom environment. Instead of a teacher standing in the front of the class lecturing to a group of students of the same age, the Montessori teacher, or guide, is trained to lead the children of various ages in a specialized environment that is precisely set up for using self-correcting materials. In this manner, the children are not corrected by the teacher, rather, the children can work quietly by themselves or in a small group of two or three without interruption and can investigate and work in this carefully prepared environment freely and confidently. This positive atmosphere and freedom to pursue their own interests foster a love of lifetime learning in the students.

It is the role of the teacher to prepare the environment and to link the children to it through well thought out introductions to books and materials, projects, and lessons. The children are then free to explore these tasks and lessons at their own pace. When ready to advance to the next level, the teacher will then guide them to the next task individually. This gentle guidance nurtures the children’s exploration and creativity and also their sense of order. Children are taught to problem solve and try new things.

The Montessori school environment is usually arranged according to subject areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, Cultural, as well as cleaning, gardening, art, caring for animals, library corner, and etc. Children are free to move around the room rather than being told to stay at their desks. There are no limitations on how long a child can work on a particular task. Children will learn a variety os subjects such as, practical work, math, language, science, history, geography, art, and music. This is facilitated by the teacher with careful observations, individual lessons and record keeping.

Curriculum Structure

Our authentic Montessori environment incorporates 5 key development areas that cultivate a child’s ability to express themselves and to think with clarity; Practical Life, Sensorial, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Cultural Extensions.

Practical Life exercises instill care for the child, for others, and for the environment. The activities include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily life in their home, washing and cleaning, doing the dishes, arranging flowers, etc. Elements of human social skills are introduced with the exercises of grace and courtesy. Through these and other activities, children develop muscular coordination, enabling movement and the exploration of their surroundings. They learn to work at a task from beginning to end, and develop their will (defined by Dr. Montessori as the intelligent direction of movement), their self-discipline and their capacity for total concentration.

Sensorial Materials are tools for development. Children build cognitive ability, and learn to order and classify impressions. They do this by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment through the manipulation of specially-designed materials.

“When the children come into the classroom at around three years of age, they are given in the simplest way possible the opportunity to enrich the language they have acquired during their small lifetime and to use it intelligently, with precision and beauty, becoming aware of its properties not by being taught, but by being allowed to discover and explore these properties themselves. If not harassed, they will learn to write, and as a natural consequence to read, never remembering the day they could not write or read in the same way that they do not remember that once upon a time they could not walk.”

Our authentic Montessori environment incorporates 5 key development areas that cultivate a child’s ability to express themselves and to think with clarity; Practical Life, Sensorial, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Cultural Extensions.

Cultural Extensions

Geography, History, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art and Music are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. Children learn about other cultures past and present, and this allows their innate respect and love for their environment to flourish, creating a sense of solidarity with the global human family and its habitat. Experiences with nature in conjunction with the materials in the environment inspire a reverence for all life. History is presented to the children through art and music.

Education Materials

Maria Montessori noticed that children who were occupied and engaged were happy children. She developed “sensory-rich” materials to stimulate the children so they learn to solve problems and formulate concepts. All the materials are “self-correcting”, for example, puzzles won’t fit together.

A Montessori classroom is very appealing and the materials stimulate the senses. They are rich in bright colors, and made from various materials to provide a mix of textures for the children to feel, touch and explore.
Shelving in a Montessori classroom is built to the children’s height. Accessibility of materials provides children the freedom to choose a task to perform and then return the tool. This consistency provides comfort and security to the children.