The beginning of the school year is full of fresh starts and promise. Each year as we prepare for the arrival of students the teachers spend hours and hours thoughtfully choosing every item that becomes part of the students’ classroom. They intentionally consider the placement and sequence of every object. The design of the environment is part of the Montessori teacher training and is a fundamental tenet of the Montessori Method.
Classroom design is a core subject in our Montessori teachers’ training. The layout of the materials in the classroom determines the accessibility of the curriculum to the child. It could not be more important to our teaching. Teachers have the greatest influence on the student through the careful engineering of the physical properties and design of the educational environment.
In the Montessori Method the primary relationship in the classroom is not between the adult and the child, as we see in more traditional settings. In Montessori, assisting children to develop independence and concentration is furthered by nurturing a direct relationship between the child and the environment, often referred to as the curriculum or the content in other settings. In the Montessori classroom there are no obstacles between the child’s interests and the child. They have access to the full sequence of Montessori materials. As the teachers follow the child and observe his/ her understanding they are able to assist the child in moving forward at his/ her own pace.
This photo is a geography shelf from one of our Children’s House classrooms. At the top left you can see the teacher has thoughtfully begun the study with a globe of land and water. From there she has added an element with a work which shows three classifications: land, water and air. As you continue to move left to right and top to bottom the materials become increasingly complex and abstract. On the bottom shelf children will have the opportunity to learn about the biomes of the world and life on the coral reef.
This shelf is just one of more than a dozen in a Montessori classroom. Each following the pattern of concrete to abstract, left to right, top to bottom in a sequence children understand and can follow in their own time.
If you have any questions about the your child’s prepared environment please reach out to their teacher. The faculty at The Glen love to discuss their beautiful classrooms.