What is The Prepared Environment?
The "prepared environment" is a key part of Maria Montessori's Philosophy. The idea behind the "prepared environment" is that a child's environment can be designed to facilitate the maximum amount of independent learning and exploration for the child.
Key components of the Prepared Environment
Order – "There is a place for everything and everything in its place." This is one of the key phrase in a Montessori environment, we put this phase into practice within our environment though meeting the child’s need for order. This is achieved though by making sure materials are stored in the same place every day. We make sure each work is complete and repairs of material are made promptly. Lessons are presented in the same sequence and each activity ends with the child returning the work to the shelf. This physical sense of order allows the children to internalise the order of their surroundings and begin to understand the world around them.
Freedom – One of the key components of a Montessori prepared environment is freedom of choice. This is achieved through providing opportunities for freedom to explore, freedom of move, freedom to interact socially, and freedom of interference from others
The Five Key areas of a Montessori class room
The practical life area includes a wide variety of materials and resources that aid the development of life skills such as independence, concentration, self-awareness and confidence. The following is a brief overview of this area.
Care of Self- This my include food preparation or washing of dishes or clothing.
Grace and Courtesy- greetings and manners
Control of Movement- refining movements, moving quietly and calmly
Care of Environment- cleaning and gardening
The sensorial resources provide opportunities for the refinement of each of the senses:
The sensorial area is the preparation for mathematics providing opportunities for the development of pre concepts. The mathematics area is developed with the use of concrete learning materials. Hands-on materials are used such as number rods, sandpaper numbers, number boards and beads. Each material leads into one another allowing the child to gradually moves to from concrete to abstract areas such as place value, addition, subtraction and multiplication.
The development of language is based on phonetic awareness in a Montessori classroom. The children work with hands-on language materials such as the sandpaper letters and the moveable alphabet. Language is not only developed in this area, it is developed throughout the curriculum. The spoken language is the foundation for writing and then reading.
The cultural area allows the child to explore the natural world around them and includes:
Geography- continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system
Zoology- classification, physiology of animals
Botany- ecology, classification, physiology of plants