The first thing that drew my attention to the Montessori classroom was its beauty. Adjectives I would use to describe this classroom are: beautiful, orderly and inviting.
I have always been a sucker for nature light and hardwood floors. At any point in time if you drive by my house, every single miniblind is open, curtains pulled back and as long as it’s not freezing cold outside the front door will be open.
Similarly at its core, a Montessori classroom mimics a home. Natural light floods the room, hardwood floors gleam and green plants stretch towards the sunlight. Wooden and wicker furniture grace the classroom along with woven mats for floor work. Open shelving houses wooden, ceramic, glass and silver materials. At the very least, the classroom sparks children to relax and learn in the welcoming atmosphere.
Order Leads to Learning
Order is the name of the game. Children find materials grouped together by curriculum areas. Top shelf material is more difficult that materials on the bottom shelf. Subsequently more advanced work sits to the right of less challenging work. Calculated placement of work trains the child to move from left to right and top to bottom, this is preparation for reading. Yes, I said it, preparation for reading. Each child will learn to move their eyes, fingers and hand from left to right during their time in the classroom. Before he ever holds a pencil or reads a word, his mind processes left to right and top to bottom.
There are several areas found in each classroom:
Culture and Geography
Some classrooms will also include:
This is "YOUR" classroom
At the beginning of the school year, each student learns his importance to the environment. He learns early that the classroom is “his” and he is expected to care for it responsibly. The guide supports the child and shows them how to care for the classroom and materials. Each guide acts to keep students safe and provides new work as needed, but does not intervene beyond this point.
This peaceful environment in maintained by the students and guides. Responsible students learn to work together to keep their classroom orderly. Children develop inner peace, independence and structure due to the Montessori framework. What a wonderful and fulfilling way to learn.