Prepared Environment

Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The classrooms at each level of the program, offer the essential elements for optimal development. They allow children to take responsibility for their own education, giving them the opportunity to become human beings able to function independently and as a result, interdependently. Teachers take great care in preparing the environment ensuring beauty, order, reality, simplicity and accessibility.

The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult and to operate as independently as possible in all aspects of classroom life, including maintaining and taking pride in their environment. Through their work, the children develop concentration, self-direction and self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace according to their individual capabilities.

Infant-Toddler

infant-toddlers roomIn the Montessori Infant and Toddler environments we offer the child the best possibilities of development in an environment that has been prepared with love and care. It is here that the child can satisfy his or her physical and psychological needs and have a happy and joyful experience of becoming a complete human being.

Each child is born with the capacity to become a human being of his or her place and time, but these characteristics are only present in the child as potentialities. At birth, the infant has the potential to develop voluntary movement, language of his or her culture, will, independence, and emotions.

All of these potentialities will only be able to develop through the child’s interaction with the environment. The prepared environment is the one that will give the child the nutrients to develop fully.

The quality of the environment will impact the quality of the child’s construction. If the environment is poor, the child’s construction will be poor. If the environment is rich in experiences, the child will be able to fulfill his self-construction.

“Many aspects of personality can be tested, and some predictions can be made; but no one can predict what the destiny of any one individual will be. The only thing we can do is offer every child the opportunity to develop according to its own potentialities, and to acquire new perspectives that will facilitate its exploration and internalization of the cultural world around it. This is the purpose of the prepared environment, including the Montessori materials.”
(Mario Montessori Jr, Education for Human Development)

Casa (Preschool)

Children of this age possess what Dr. Montessori called the Absorbent Mind. This type of mind has the unique ability to absorb all aspects of their environment indiscriminately and without effort. The Casa environment is prepared with scientifically designed materials and activities to bring about an understanding and ordering of the world around them and to aid in the development of concentration and independence.  The children are introduced to a wide range of concepts, activities and subject areas through the authentic Montessori Materials.  The Montessori Materials are concrete abstractions which allow the children to have hands-on, multi-sensory experiences of abstract concepts.  This deep connection with the materials and their concepts lays a solid foundation upon which the rest of their education will build.  The areas of the Casa Prepared Environment are as follows:  Practical Life, Grace and Courtesy, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Cultural Extensions (including botany, biology, zoology, history, geography, music and art).

Elementary

The aim of the elementary environment is to render the student independent of the adult (teacher).  Similar to the Casa, the Montessori materials are arranged from the concrete to the abstract, however, as the students progress from lower into upper elementary, there are fewer and fewer Montessori Materials due to the student’s own efforts and discovery, moving toward more abstract learning  and thus greatly expanding their field of knowledge.

Students are able to work ahead or take extra time to internalize concepts and have a choice in how to complete follow-up assignments to meet individual interests.  They work individually and in small groups on projects which spark the imagination and engage the intellect.  The teacher gives lessons which direct the children toward research style activities which help to develop critical thinking skills.

Outings into the community are a regular part of the school day.  Children plan the outings as extensions to their work.

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