The Montessori Classroom or Prepared Environment
The multi-aged classroom has children in ages 3,4,5 and 6. It provides a positive educational experiences for the children. When visiting a Montessori classroom, you may be intimidated by all the strange looking "stuff" on the shelves.
The "prepared environment" is Maria Montessori's concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child. Our Montessori prepared classroom provides full range of Montessori materials, which allows children to enjoy ?freedom within a structured environment?
Montessori materials are unique, and it is impossible to know what they are used for unless it is explained to you! All good Montessori schools make sure the parents understand the methods and the materials as fully as possible. This is done through written materials, required reading of Dr. Montessori's books, videos and discussion groups among teachers and parents.
In the prepared environment, there is a variety of activity as well as a great deal of movement. In our preschool classroom, for example, a three-year-old may be washing clothes by hand while a four-year-old nearby is composing words and phrases with letters known as the movable alphabet, and a five-year-old is performing multiplication using a specially designed set of beads.
Sometimes an entire class may be involved in a group activity, such as storytelling, singing, educational computer games or movement. In the calm, ordered space of the Montessori prepared environment, children work on activities of their own choice at their own pace. They experience a blend of freedom and self-discipline in a place especially designed to meet their developmental needs. Children are encouraged to act freely on their own initiatives, at their own pace, according to their abilities.
Children are inspired by the work of others, multi-age classrooms allow children to develop at their own pace without feeling of being singled out. Also children develop a stronger bond with the teacher?s and classmates. Likewise, the teacher gets to truly know her students after spending 3 years with them.