When your child steps into a Montessori classroom, a new world of activities and materials open before them. The Montessori classroom is a home-like environment built to a child’s scale (Montessori called her first classroom the Children’s House, or Casa dei Bambini), which offers your child a means for exploration, continuing development of movement, independent functioning, language development, and positive social interaction.
The “prepared environment” is designed to provide each child with every opportunity to function independently, to explore and to learn at their own pace and to make choices. The traits of the “prepared environment” are:
Freedom of Movement
Children move around the classroom freely and are able to choose the materials they want to use as well as select the place in the classroom where they want to work. Each child is aware of which materials are available to them and that the classroom materials be used with purpose and returned to its original place when finished. The only limitations are that their movements and choices of activity do not do not endanger themselves or others nor interfere with the work of others.
Children are free to choose the materials they want to use as well as select the place in the classroom where they want to work as long as they don’t interfere with the work of others. Each child is aware of which materials are available to them and that the classroom materials be used with purpose and returned to its original place when finished.
Whenever possible, Montessori Materials are designed to be self-correcting – which is to say that a child will encounter some obvious physical obstacle prompting them to rethink their work if they have not yet understood the lesson it is intended to teach. Does this create frustration? Oh yes – but it also creates an opportunity for them to learn to process and overcome that frustration, and without developing an expectation, however well-intended, that when they encounter difficulty they need to rely on guides or other adults rather than their own problem-solving skills in order to overcome it.
Within this framework, Ridgemont Montessori School is dedicated to offering a joyful and supportive learning environment. We realize that each child is a unique individual with different needs. We are sensitive to this diversity and provide a classroom environment where children develop a love of learning and a curiosity about the world in which they live.
The layout of our classroom, and the emphasis on self-directed work, facilitates our work to honor the curiosity and individuality of each student in ways that classes where all students are expected to do the same work at the same time, or to progress at the same pace, cannot. Our students learn at their own pace in a cooperative atmosphere. They are encouraged to make choices in order to develop a sense of independence and self-worth. The Montessori materials provide concrete learning experiences and the joy of discovery. The impressions formed in their young minds in this space make a lasting impact on each child’s attitude towards learning and life itself – and we work hard to honor the importance of the role it will play in their first steps in education.