Montessori FurnitureMaterialsThe Prepared Environment
One of the key components of any Montessori classroom is what we refer to as the “prepared environment.” At first glance, we might dismiss the term as being too obvious. Isn’t every classroom a prepared environment in some sense? But as we discover more about the inner workings of the Montessori pedagogy, we find that the term is a rich and many-layered description. Physically, the classroom is arranged to be conducive to the children’s independent, self-directed work. Primary Classrooms feature the Practical Life area, with the Hand Washing Table and Dressing Frame Stands. We also see inviting materials nearby, where the Sensorial Cabinet is alongside the stand for Cylinder Blocks & Knobless Cylinders. In the Cultural Area, we notice Montessori furniture, cabinets for Impressionistic Charts, Puzzle Map cabinets, low shelves, and Map Stands. The hands-on materials are designed to meet the learning needs of the children in the relevant age group and are presented in lessons and then placed in the environment in a logical and sequenced manner. In the Language Area, we place the Montessori Blue Language Series Wooden Cabinet and the Stand for Green Boards. In the Math Area, we find Bead Material for Bead Cabinet and the Fraction Cabinet for Metal Materials. The classroom is beautiful and peaceful in order to better allow each child’s energies to flow without obstacles or distraction. Of course, we can also see that the term “prepared environment” must refer to more than the tables, the desks, the rugs, and the Montessori materials, to include the rest of the children in the classroom, the teachers, the daily schedule, etc. The adults in the classroom are well-educated in the didactic use of the materials as well as in child development, and they actively support a classroom culture of challenging work, movement, and independent work.