I received an email from a reader asking for what to look for when evaluating Montessori schools for her son. I tried to answer in a way that helps any reader looking for a Montessori school for their child.
There are three basic categories I would look at and ask about if considering a Montessori school for my child. They are the prepared environment, the method, and the adults (teachers).
Today I will be discussing the environment, with a focus on children from 0-3
The Prepared Environment: Maria Montessori came up with different environments for children in different planes and sub planes of development. You will find a different classroom set up for each of the following age groups
- 0 – walking/15-18months (Called a nido or Infant community)
- 18months- 2.5/3years old (Called the Infant community or Toddler community )
- 2.5/3 – 6 years old (Called the Casa, Casa de bambini, Children’s house or Primary
- 6-9* (Called Lower Elementary)
- 9-12* (Called Upper Elementary)
- 12-15 (Called Secondary or Middle School)
*Sometimes combined to 6-12
While each of these environments are different and prepared to support the child’s development for that specific age group, there are some qualities they all have in common.
– It should be Beautiful and attractive such that it calls to the child. Some factors that contribute to the beauty are light, space, colors, simplicity. It is not cluttered or over stimulating.
– Orderly: A place for everything and everything in it’s place. This supports the child’s need for order, provides security and allows him to be independent
The furniture should be the child’s size and weighted appropriately so that the child can use it independently. Materials are also at the child’s level
There should be space for movement: The shelves and tables and set up to encourage movement. It is through movement that the children experience the environment and learn.
Materials should be made of natural materials such as wood, glass, fabric, metal etc.There should be plants, flowers, pictures, paintings and other aesthetic materials.
Come back tomorrow to see specifics on the environment for the walking vs. non-walking child.
As always I would love to hear from you… questions, comments, contributions
Live a Good Life!