To understand the essence of Montessori education, you need only to step inside a classroom. Inside, you will feel how beautifully inviting the room feels and notice how thoughtfully it has been arranged to implement Dr. Maria Montessori’s approach to your child’s education.
Understanding the Setup of a Montessori Classroom
Your first reaction to a Montessori classroom has you noticing the uncluttered spaces, natural and soft lights, and how activities are focused and calm. Materials in the classroom are set out on open shelves that will instill independence in your child. The room is arranged with furniture that meets the appropriate height of your child’s age, so he or she will feel comfortable exploring and learning about their world.
Design of the Classroom
The flow inside the Montessori classroom creates an environment that provides choices for your child. There are areas designed specifically to meet your child’s interest and learning ability. You will not find the traditional rows of desks as children are encouraged to work on tables or the floor, wherever they feel more comfortable. Areas are designated to meet different parts of the curriculum such as math, culture, or language. In each area are tables or shelves with materials that will invite your child to explore the subject.
The Montessori classroom is not plastered with brightly colored images of popular commercial characters, but instead highlights local interest areas such as museums or photographs of select locations, and even artwork done by the students. There are also quiet areas where your child can relax without peer interaction and enjoy some meditative thought.
Organization within the Classroom
Montessori classrooms are designed to meet the needs of its students. Furniture is sized to the age-group so smaller children are not challenged to climb into over-sized couches or chairs. If your child is a preschooler, they will enjoy an environment designed to their height including reachable shelves, child-sized tools, and small comfy couches. The size-appropriate furniture helps to allow independence for your child and helps them develop small motor skills.
As the age group goes up, the Montessori classroom environment grows with them. The elementary students will find classrooms to meet their needs such as areas for science labs, interactive whiteboards, and tables for group work. All of the Montessori classrooms are well-organized and inviting. Your child will feel relaxed and ready to learn in all the various environments.
Learning Materials within the Montessori Classroom
The Montessori approach to education is hands-on learning. Materials are designed to be investigated and manipulated, so students are able to master their meaning. They are displayed where your child will be able to reach them independently and not have to rely on adult assistance. Items are arranged, so children are introduced to those pertaining to their curriculum and will be able to progress through the material at their learning level. When teachers observe the growth in your child’s understanding, they will introduce newer material to stimulate their curiosity and educational growth.
At Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus, our classrooms are set up to meet the needs of our students. Open shelving allows students to explore independently, and appropriately sized furniture allows students to be comfortable in their learning environment. To see how the Montessori classroom differs from a traditional classroom, visit our school today.