The Montessori classroom is not merely a place for individual learning.  It is a vibrant community of children, where the child learns to interact socially in many ways.  Walk into a Montessori classroom anywhere in the world and you will see happy, busy children working purposefully in typically beautiful and enticing classrooms.  Great care is taken into making an environment that will strengthen the child’s independence and natural urge towards self-discipline.  This is achieved in three ways: beauty, order and accessibility.  The Montessori materials and equipment are beautifully crafted and displayed on shelfs low enough for children to access.  Each piece of material has a specific purpose and is presented to children in a manner which will enable them to direct their own learning.

Montessori materials are designed to stimulate the child’s logical thought and discovery.  They are enticing yet simple.  Each piece of material presents one concept or idea at a time.  If a child does something incorrectly the ’control of error’ will be self-evident.  Being able to see one’s own errors allows the child to work independently.

The three-year age range in a classroom enables older children to teach younger children, become mentors and leaders and learn much about themselves from this experience while the younger children are inspired to more advanced work through the observing of the older ones.

Key Principles of the Prepared Environment

Independence- the environment is prepared to enable the child to become physically independent of the adult.

Order –classrooms are arranged in an orderly way with materials and equipment in prepared environments

Freedom-fundamental to the prepared environment is the child’s freedom – to choose, to work for as long as they want, to work without interruption by other children etc. as long as others are uninterrupted.

Choice – the environment gives the children the opportunity to choose materials which they would like to work with and are suitable for their developmental needs.

Materials – the materials in an environment must be suitable for children’s development.

Indirect preparation- activities are prepared with their own development aim in mind but also prepare the child for something that will come later in their development.

Movement- the environment must allow the child to have freedom of movement essential for their development.

Control of Error -the environment and materials should be prepared in a way that allows the children become aware of their mistakes and how to correct them.

Mixed Age Range – another essential part of the environment is the formation of a community with a three year age range.  This allows children to learn from each other.

Role of the Adult – the role of the adult in a Montessori classroom is to facilitate the child to teach himself by following his own learning urges.

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