The Prepared Environment

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Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. In a Montessori Infant/Toddler room, the prepared environment is very important. It is designed to meet these goals: * Be attractive, welcoming, and conducive to learning

* Have a space large enough to accommodate all the children, providing them with free and comfortable movement * Provide areas for all the activities each day
* Provide and store equipment for the personal care of young children * Provide materials designed with a self-correcting control of error * To allow the adults to view all the children and get to them quickly as necessary The Montessori outdoor environment is prepared just as carefully as indoors. Since infants and toddlers are apt to put almost anything in their mouth, caregivers must survey the area regularly for any dangers. Outdoor areas require space for running, jumping, throwing, climbing, lying, sitting, balancing, watching, building, digging, playing with water, and exploring. It is not necessary to purchase expensive playground equipment for this age, though many Montessori outdoor spaces to have a sandbox. Ideally, there are a variety of hard and soft surfaces to meet the differing needs of children. Hard materials

* Rocks for washing with water
* Fences for ‘painting’ with water
* Stone flagstones provide a path to follow
* Trees to sit under
Soft materials
* Sand
* Wood chips
* Mulch
* Grass

The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult. (Maria Montessori. The Secret of Childhood: Fides Publishers, 1966.) Montessori’s idea of the prepared environment was that everything the child came in contact with would facilitate and maximize independent learning and exploration. This calm,...
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