“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”
Dr Maria Montessori
To grasp the essence of Montessori, just step inside the specially prepared room. For the child it is a beautiful, inviting, and thoughtfully arranged space. It is designed to meet the needs of a young child regardless of level of development. The child is encouraged to develop good work habits, organizational skills and general thinking strategies. Everything in the Montessori room has a place and a purpose. The room will be just right for the age group of children who will work within it, it is spacious and it will not overwhelm the senses of the developing young child.
Children work with the Montessori specially designed materials, manipulating and investigating until they master the particular concept or skill. Each learning material teaches just one skill or concept at a time. Montessori materials use real objects and actions to translate abstract ideas into concrete form. The materials are the child’s tools for discovery, growth and development and they are designed to allow the child to work independently.
A built-in “control of error” in many of the Montessori materials allows the child to determine if he has done the exercise correctly. If the work doesn’t look quite right he can try again, ask another for help, or go to a teacher for suggestions. The concrete materials provide passages to abstraction, and introduce concepts that become increasingly complex. As the child progresses, the teacher replaces some materials with others, ensuring that the level of challenge continues to meet his needs.
Throughout the room, children will be sorting, stacking, and manipulating all sorts of educational objects. The Montessori curriculum is brilliantly designed to take the child through a predetermined sequence, one step at a time, through to concepts of increasing complexity. The child will not move on until each step is mastered fully.
The Montessori materials are displayed in a special order on the shelves as the physical order in the environment helps to build up a mental order within the child and makes it easier for the child to find where things belong.