Prepared Environment

The Prepared Environment

The Montessori classroom is referred to as the prepared environment. It is a meaningfully structured learning space where everything has a purpose and a place. Furniture is light and child-sized, learning materials are designed to fit in children’s hands, and everything is designed to be open and accessible. The prepared environment activates a love of learning through curiosity, stability, and the freedom to choose.

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The Montessori classroom is known as the prepared environment because it is purposefully prepared by a trained Montessori educator to create the optimal learning environment for children. The classroom itself is neutral, open-plan, and has a distinct sense of order, beauty and harmony. Everything has a purpose and a place.

The wonder of Montessori learning is clearly evident when you see children interact with the prepared environment. You won’t see a teacher directing a Montessori lesson at the front of the classroom, or all students simultaneously seated at individual desks.

Instead, you will see children moving freely around the classroom, choosing their own activities, and working individually or in small groups. They may choose to work at a table, or on the floor, with a small mat to clearly delineate their workspace.

Similarly, you won’t see a teacher hovering over children correcting their work. Instead, you will see educators standing back, keenly observing their students, and only stepping in to assist when needed.

Children are able to deeply engage in their own learning, progress at their own pace, and discover learning outcomes through repetition and practice. Learning in the Montessori environment is largely active, individually paced, often self-correcting, and completely tailored to the needs and interests of each individual child. .

The Montessori Classroom is a Prepared Environment

Features of the Prepared Environment

  • Structure and order
  • Clearly defined curriculum areas
  • Materials are displayed in progression order
  • Left to right orientation
  • Freedom of movement and choice
  • Emphasis on independence
  • Freedom within limits