The primary idea behind having a prepared environment in a Montessori classroom is to make the growing child independent of adult companionship as far as possible. Here is a look at the various principles that are necessary to help create a prepared environment.
When it comes to the idea of a prepared environment, Montessori institutes usually believe it to be something that would facilitate maximum independence in exploration and learning for the child. Though calm and well-ordered, this environment is characterized by a lot of activity and movement as children are given the freedom of choosing and working on activities at their own comfortable space and pace. What they get to experience in such places under the tutelage of faculty trained at international Montessori teacher training institutes is a combination of self-discipline and freedom that is guided by the environment. The Prepared Environment usually has six aspects or principles to it: Intellectual Environment, Social Environment, Nature and Reality, Beauty, Structure and Order, and Freedom. Teachers need to learn more about these in order to understand the important role they play in defining the personality of a Montessori student.
Freedom A Montessori learning environment believes in giving the child the freedom to explore and live by his own natural impulses which helps to develop his potential and increases his knowledge of the world he lives in. The prepared environment gives the child an experience in freedom from interference, freedom of social interaction, freedom of exploration, and freedom of movement. Coupled together, this freedom gives rise to an even greater freedom – the freedom of choice.
Structure and Order When taken into consideration against the aforementioned aspect of freedom, Structure and Order may seem counter-intuitive but in reality, nothing can be further from the truth. A Montessori classroom with structure and order is an accurate reflection of the sense of structure and order prevalent in the Universe. With this classroom environment acting as a microcosm of the universe, children often internalize the order in their surroundings thus making better sense of the world they live in.
If no order prevails in the surrounding environment, the sense of reasoning in the child may be off as he will not be able to validate his findings. However that does not mean that ways of doing things and routines cannot undergo any changes – it is just that these changes need to be implemented with some caution and consideration. If the change is done for the good of the children it should be implemented carefully with a keen observation on the after-effects to ensure children get the maximum benefit out of it. A classroom management course in Kolkata will also help teachers learn about creating a favorable learning environment for the young minds.
Beauty The environment in a Montessori should be beautiful and exhibit a sense of simple harmony, be it in a living room of someone’s house or in an old Victorian mansion. Well-maintained and free from clutter, the environment should be a reflection of tranquility and peace, serving an invitation to the learner to come in and work. The attitude of those working in the place, children and adults alike, reflect the kind of atmosphere prevalent.
Nature and Reality Nature can play a huge role in inspiring children if the teachers are willing to take the children out. This is one of the major reasons why natural materials are often seen in the prepared environment with glass, cotton, metal, bamboo, and real wood being preferred to plastics and synthetics. This is also where the use of real objects comes into the picture. Furniture should be child-size so that the children can move about without having to depend on the adults. All other equipment should be of the right fit for the little ones so that they can enjoy the proper use and complete the work without much frustration.
Social Environment When children are given the freedom of interaction, they develop a sense of encouragement, compassion, and empathy for others. With developing age, they gain further social awareness, and are more prepared to work and play in groups. This social interaction finds support throughout the environment and is also encouraged in the environment of a multi-age classroom.
A prepared environment for Montessori requires good deal of investment in time and effort to meet the individual requirements of the children. Prospective candidates can undergo necessary training at an international Montessori teacher training institute to learn how things can become simpler in helping children develop their unique potential in a carefully prepared learning environment.