Maria Montessori said that "organization is necessary, and if the children are to be free to work, it must be even more thorough than in the ordinary schools" in reference to the learning environment for children. Great emphasis is placed on the prepared environment, which is the Montessori classroom that is ready for the children to explore and learn from.
The Montessori method is as known for a unique approach to pedagogy, including auto-education, as it is uniquely designed didactic materials. The concert that results from children using self-correcting materials of their own choice is thought to be symphonic. There should be no surprise that much thought and attention is paid to creating and maintaining the Montessori classroom when such emphasis is paid on the discriminate use of the materials by children. A traditional classroom may put great emphasis on whole group lessons guided by the teacher whereas the environment is as much the teacher as the Montessori Directress.
The many gifts for learning that await the children on the shelf are arranged sequentially and by theme. The sequence of materials moves from the simplest to the most complex in a left to right and top down formation as would be found in literature and mathematical computation. The themes, which may be organized as zones within the classroom, include practical life and sensorial, cultural, language, reading, and mathematics. In addition to highlighting these themes, the arrangement helps to create an internal order within the child, which mimics the surroundings.
Montessori, M. (1995). The absorbent mind. (C.A. Claremont, Trans.) New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Wilson. (Original work published 1949
Author: Catherine Munro