The Prepared Environment & Montessori Education

My first exposure to the Montessori method was seeing an experienced teacher gracefully giving a lesson to children in a beautiful, tranquil prepared environment while living in Phoenix back in 2012. That was the moment that sparked my desire become a Montessori teacher – and for a time, that was all I saw myself as, simply a teacher.

Instead, as I studied and become more versed in Montessori, I started working towards creating my own in-home Montessori preschool, which I  started from scratch with a small amount of my own money, the help of my family. It was a lot to take on all at once, and I lacked confidence in myself – but I was guided by the belief that Montessori education is my true calling.

The Montessori Prepared Environment

Part of that education is creating a prepared environment. In my view, being prepared isn’t only preparing the classroom but also includes the school’s vision & commitment, administration, financial preparation, zoning & regulatory permits from city, marketing, resources, budgeting, classroom learning materials, the classroom layout, as well connections with the teachers, children, family, and local community being served.

All of these things should exist in your vision for the Montessori school – and once that is crystal clear, you can take physical actions and make a commitment actualizing your plan. When the city gives a school permit and the legal matters have been taken care of, then it comes time to manage school budgets for buying materials, getting resources, creating a classroom environment, promoting & advertising the school, and getting ready to welcome registered students into Montessori prepared environment classroom.

The prepared environment of the classroom

Inside the classroom must have big open space that fresh air can flow, sunlight can warm the classroom, non-poisonous indoor plants can grow where children can help grow plants inside the classroom and lots of rooms and spots for students to freely move and work both at the tables or on the floor. There are areas for working, learning, reading, relaxing, socializing, group engaging and peaceful mind and spirit developing to support our students second plane of development; mind, body and spirit. Montessori Learning Materials for age 6-12 are provided in the classroom to help support the second plane of development.

Outside the classroom, my ideal environment includes a large, safe & easily accessible area that allows children to easily go outdoors. I favor a natural environment containing trees, flowers, fruits and vegetables and animals that children can enjoy and learn about living things on earth.

The prepared environment of the teacher

Without a guide in a beautiful Montessori prepared environment, your students will be lost. The teacher is a guide in the classroom, and must be mentally and emotionally prepared for each day. Inside of the teacher’s heart, she must be happy about herself and her work with children. Her heart is prepared, ready to serve, and willing to guide her students with love. She knows that there will be good days and bad days to come and she have prepared and keep loving her children through up and down. She understand wholeheartedly about the nature of children development.

The teacher’s external appearance is also important because children love to observe and model themselves after the people they interact with. The teacher is not only a guide, but also a role model in the classroom. She should be in good spirit inside and out, which includes taking care of herself to maintain a healthy lifestyle, dress appropriately and maintain her good personal hygiene habits.

The prepared environment of the parents & guardians

Children spend half of the their day at school. The rest of their time is spent with guardians or parents, as the child has entered to school, the responsibility of taking care of each child is not just teacher. That being said “It takes a whole village to raise the child.” We (family, teacher, community that are surrounded the child) are in this together. The more we know about the child’s personalities and characters the better we can help meet the child’s need of his learning development.

Parents and guardians are also the roles model of children at home. Their perspectives, believes and attitudes toward themselves and others can influence the child. Parents and guardians also have to prepare the healthy positive environment and have trust that the child will thrive in the Montessori learning environment.

Children thrive in a prepared environment

According to the plane of development, in this period of growth, children’s sensitivities are abstraction, imagination, moral & justice, culture and peer interaction. They are now moved from absorbent mind to reasoning mind and they are aware of places, people and they are capable of doing things independently. Adults should let children know before they are entering into the new environment so they can be prepared mentally and physically. Especially, new family who just moved from different state. It is so important that children need to feel value from teacher and friends and they do need to feel belong in the environment.

When we walk into a new place to meet new people, new friends and knowing that this place will be the life learning places for three years, all senses of our body are full of awareness, the excitement are rising up, we can really sense energy of people and things around us. As we put much of loving, caring, warming and commitment into creating the lovely learning classroom environment from the walk way through we have plant positive energy all around. First impression of teachers, staffs, friends, environment inside and outside the classroom will make a long-lasting memory for the rest of the school year.

At the end, action speaks louder than words, let us use all of the abstract imagination above to create a concrete work to serve the children and the community.