“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.” – Maria Montessori
Parents and other teachers always ask me what Montessori is all about? What sets the educational method apart from that which is found in a traditional classroom? To that, I often answer like this. It all starts with the environment. The Montessori classroom offers a prepared environment that is beautiful, inviting, and accessible. It is structured, ordered, and offers both intellectual and social opportunities to learn and grow. The materials are wooden and the baskets are typically made of natural fibers. The areas are clear: math, geometry, language, history, geography, botany and zoology. Often there are practical life shelves and peace areas offered, as well as plants and living creatures for observation. The children can sit at a table or work with a mat, on the rug. Students are free to choose their materials during the work cycle, after they have had a lesson from the teacher. So often Montessori children are assumed to have no rules or boundaries. But, it is quite the opposite. Freedom, within limits. The child finds structure within the Montessori environment.