The Montessori Method of education is more than just an educational tool, it is a lifestyle choice, which is evident in the Principle of Montessori Prepared Environment.
The Montessori Method of education is a century-old pedagogical tool developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907, to efficiently facilitate education for optimum holistic development.
The Montessori Method of education lays heavy emphasis on sensory development and open-ended autonomous play to promote autodidactic education for children.
The key principle of autonomous play and autodidactic education is facilitated through the systematically organized Montessori Prepared Environment and engaging Montessori Materials that allow children to freely explore and learn about their surrounding environment.
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children for the initial six years of their lives have an absorbent mind that is highly susceptible to the stimuli present in their immediate surroundings.
Each element in the Montessori Prepared Environment is diligently and methodically curated to provide your child with all the tools for optimum development.
If you are a parent who is curious to learn about Montessori Prepared Environment to establish Montessori Principles at home, look no further.
Whether you want to know about the Montessori Classroom Prepared Environment or you just want to set up a Montessori home environment, here is an ultimate guide to a Montessori Prepared environment.
What is the Prepared Environment in Montessori?
“The general idea about the buildings of a modern school is that they should be hygienically correct, satisfying the laws of healthy housing, etc. Our idea is to build them so that they are psychologically satisfying; i.e., the building should correspond to the psychological needs of the children”. (The House of Children 11)
The principle of “Prepared Environment” in Montessori was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, in order to effectively facilitate holistic education in children and inculcate virtuous values in developing minds.
This systematically arranged environment provides your child with the freedom to autonomously and willingly develop through sensorial stimulation and open-ended play.
The Montessori Prepared Environment should act as a safe space where every student feels accepted and does not need to face competition, judgment, stress, and pressure.
The Montessori Prepared Environment integrates materials, tools, curriculum, and apparatus that allow children to develop and learn at their own pace.
The prepared environment of the Montessori method promotes autonomous learning and allows the child to develop qualities such as independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence.
The Montessori Prepared Environment is based on six key principles that facilitate the holistic development of children.
Six principles of Prepared Environment:
The Prepared Environment of The Children’s House is based on six principles that help children become aware of their inner potentialities. The six principles are:
The Montessori method of education encourages children to make their own choices.
Children are allowed to freely and autonomously move around in the classroom, participate in any activity of their choice, play with any material, and interact with other students on their own terms.
Autodidactic education and freedom allow children to develop and learn at their own pace.
Structure and order:
The Montessori Method of education provides children with the innate freedom to partake in any activity of their choice.
However with freedom comes responsibility, hence it is essential to impart systematic and structured values to young developing minds.
Providing the child with a systematically arranged learning environment helps them develop critical thinking skills, reasoning skills, and problem-solving skills.
Children are also given the opportunity to learn about the outcomes of cause and effect and a balanced perception of the world.
Beauty and aesthetics of the prepared environment are as important as the academics in the Montessori method. The atmosphere of the classroom directly affects the child’s behavior and attitude.
The Montessori Prepared Environment classroom should be minimal, neutral, inviting, and engaging.
Unlike traditional classroom set-up that fashions vibrant walls and flashy decorations that may overstimulate or overwhelm the child, the Montessori Prepared Environment is more natural, neutral, and minimal.
Children in the classroom should have a sense of order, comfort, harmony, tranquility, and peace.
Nature and reality:
According to Dr. Montessori, nature acts as a medium to inspire the child to come closer to the natural world and should not be confined to the classroom.
The Montessori method promotes physical and tangible activities facilitated by specifically designed Montessori materials and apparatus made with naturally sourced substances. The furniture and materials in the classroom should be “child-sized”.
Social and Emotional development during the early stages helps the child develop soft skills and practical life skills essential for future prospects.
The development of social skills and basic manners during early childhood is necessary.
The Montessori method encourages children to socialize with other children in the classroom at their own pace and become socially aware.
An Intellectual Environment is the last key principle of the Montessori Prepared Environment which relies heavily on the compatibility and execution of the other five principles.
After combining all five principles, the teacher has to create a learning space where the curriculum and holistic development of the child can flourish.
In an intellectual environment, children are provided with all the appropriate activities, materials, and apparatus that promote the development of cognitive intelligence in young minds.
What are the Chief Characteristics of the Montessori Classroom Environment?
Unlike traditional preschool classrooms with flashy plastic toys, vivid posters on the walls, and bright decorations that mostly overstimulate and distract the child, a Montessori classroom environment is peaceful, aesthetically pleasing, and minimal.
The Montessori Prepared Environment should accommodate and cater to all the developmental needs and requirements of the child and must include child-sized furniture, natural materials, and apparatus.
If you are curious to learn about the Montessori Classroom Environment Layout, here are a few characteristics of a Prepared Environment in a Montessori school:
Less is more:
The Montessori classroom setup minimalist approach almost looks old-fashioned when you first enter.
Since flashy posters and banners can distract the child and disrupt the education process, each element in the Montessori Prepared Environment integrates age-appropriate stimuli to facilitate education and holistic development in children.
Structure and Order:
Although the Montessori Method of education promotes open-ended autonomous play, the Montessori classroom environment should be structured and organized. Every apparatus and Montessori material should be placed back in its own designated place.
A Montessori classroom should instill a sense of structure, balance, order, and responsibility in children.
The Montessori classroom consists of child-sized furniture encompassing tables, chairs, shelves that contain activity materials, and materials that allow easy access and the development of independence.
These child-sized Montessori Materials and furniture do not intimidate younger children. The furniture and the materials should be easy for the children to use and reach.
Sensory stimulation and sensory development are one of the salient features of the Montessori method.
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the senses are the gateway to knowledge, especially during the first six years of the child’s life.
These specifically designed Montessori Materials should provide the child with the necessary sensorial stimuli to facilitate effective education.
The materials should also keep the child engaged and attentive during the education process.
Since the Montessori Method of education promotes self-directed autonomous play, there should be ample space to allow the child to move freely and interact with different sensorial stimuli.
The classroom should have enough open space to allow freedom of movement and should not be cluttered to allow the child to interact with other students.
Promoting practical life skills:
The Montessori method of education along with the traditional curriculum also promotes practical life skills in children that are essential for promoting the child to become confident individuals from a very young age.
The activities that promote basic life skills include self-care, hygiene, grace, and courtesy.
In a Montessori Prepared Environment, children learn how to set up a table, tie a shoelace, button clothing, wash hands, and other basic social manners.
What are the Chief Characteristics of the Montessori Home Environment?
Learn more about Montessori Environment at home: https://creatingcompassionatekids.org/montessori-environment-at-home/
The Montessori Method of education is more than just a pedagogical tool and goes beyond basic curricula, books, desks, and classrooms
The Montessori Method of education is a lifestyle choice and before adopting the Montessori Environment at home it is essential to understand the basic Montessori principles.
If you are a parent who is looking for ways to set up your very own Montessori Home Environment but does not know where to begin, refer to the characteristics listed below:
- Child-sized furniture: Your Montessori Home Environment must have a child-sized table, chair, and a couple of shelves to start off as a beginner setup.
- Bring structure and order: The child should be provided with their designated shelves and containers for materials, clothes, and toys to instill values like order, structure, and responsibility.
- Materials and apparatus: The Montessori Materials and apparatus are specially designed to stimulate, isolate, and develop the child’s senses. Investing in Montessori materials can help facilitate better education.
- Have Minimal and Neutral decor: The child does not need any additional stimulus other than the learning materials.
Make sure the home environment is neutral and minimalistic without any flashy colors and decorations that may distract the child.