The Prepared Environment
The idea of the prepared environment is Maria Montessori’s concept that the environment of the classroom should be designed to foster the exploration and independence of the children.
Beauty and Simplicity make the children’s environment warm and inviting, devoid of clutter and mess. Simply decorated, quality furniture, natural lighting, well-cared for materials, and natural plants lend a calmness to the child, allowing him to feel tranquil and comfortable within his environment.
Structure and Order are key to the success of the Montssori student. The materials are classified, ordered and sequenced according to the child’s stages of development. This provides the child with a sense of security allowing her interact with the environment successfully and comfortably.
Reality is an integral part of the Montessori environment. Everything in the classroom is meant to bring the child closer to reality. The environment is real and functional: Tables, chairs, sinks and shelves are child-sized. Real food is prepared with real utensils. The child cares for live plants and animals.
Freedom and Discipline is Key Children do not need strict discipline imposed on them. Maria Montessori discovered that freedom and discipline go hand in hand. We learn from making mistakes. When the child is free to explore the environment and correct his mistakes, inner peace and discipline emerge. The Montessori environment is designed to nurture the child’s own inherent need for order and discipline.
The Montessori Materials are specifically designed for a particular academic concept, each one wonderfully inviting and captures the child’s imagination. However, the true purpose the materials is to aid the child in his own self-construction. The materials are masterfully designed to allow the child work independently and self-correct so that mastery of the concept is fulfilling. This gives the child the “I did it all by myself!” moment.
Normalized Children help create a tranquil environment. Because the Montessori classroom is composed of children from several age groups who stay in the class for three years, there are always older students in the classroom who have a positive influence upon the younger children. The normalized children serve as tutors and are good role models for the younger children who admire them and want to imitate them. New arrivals to the classroom transition easily with good leaders to show the way.