At the heart of the Montessori elementary school experience is the prepared environment they are immersed in. Everything is arranged at the eye level of the children, and the entire environment is designed around keeping children interested and engaged in the learning process.
Montessori elementary school classrooms are all about structure and order. Maria Montessori recognized that a structured environment was more conducive to learning, and provided a more comfortable space for the children to work. This is a major reason that Montessori is successful in teaching children with certain learning challenges, including autism.
A prepared environment is elegant and inviting, and that fosters curiosity and exploration in children. They see a well-organized series of exciting activities and feel a desire to be a part– to interact with the beauty of the environment. Order and beauty are connected concepts in young minds, creating a stable environment that allows them to thrive.
Montessori is “that school where kids spend a lot of time outside.” This is an apt description because Maria Montessori observed that children learn well by interacting with the natural world. She saw that spending time outside was good for physical development and mental acuity, and it encouraged the children in her care to want to explore new things and try out new ideas.
The ability to interact responsibly in the classroom, at home, or in the community is essential to a well-rounded education. The Montessori prepared environment includes social activities as part of the daily routine. This is such an important part of early education that “Grace and Courtesy” activities are a cornerstone of the Montessori Method. Social etiquette is a vital skill in today’s world, and Montessori children begin learning the social graces as early as the second stage of development.
Children who are given the freedom to make decisions for themselves develop a strong sense of self-esteem and the confidence to take a proactive role in their own education. Having the freedom to move about encourages kids to try out new activities, but it also opens the door for making mistakes. Learning from and accepting the consequences of their decisions teaches children to think critically, weighing the things they want against the consequences of having them.
Your Montessori elementary school is invested in total child development, and the prepared environment is an important part of the process. From the child-sized furniture to the carefully chosen activities, everything about an authentic Montessori classroom is geared toward engaging and developing absorbent minds and eager hands.
The best way to learn more about the Montessori prepared environment is to see it in action. Schedule an appointment for a tour today to see Montessori in action.