The Montessori classroom has a unique design and atmosphere; walk into the Montessori classroom and you will find shelves filled with learning materials and uniquely defined spaces for the students. The Montessori classroom encourages choice, allowing children to build independence in a calm environment. With this in mind, here is how to set up a Montessori classroom at home, with Montessori products and academic practices.
- Clearly Defined Spaces for Each Curriculum Area
The Montessori classroom is arranged in such a way that every area of the curriculum (language arts, math and so on) has its own defined space. Each area has shelves with relevant teaching materials and other Montessori products displayed on them. Items are arranged from left to right, with the simplest materials being on the left. In terms of teaching materials, a good place to start is with some of the classic Montessori classroom materials, such as the Pink Tower or the Broad Stairs, to name just a couple.
- Spaces for Group and Individual Activity
The Montessori classroom also has spaces where children can work together on group activities. Children can either work on the floor or at tables, but the idea is that they can choose the space that is best suited for them. You will not notice rows of desks as you would typically find in non-Montessori classrooms.
- A Designated Reading Area
All Montessori classrooms have a designated space where children can read or have books read to them.
A Designated Space for Reflection
Montessori classrooms also tend to have a designated space for reflection. This area of the classroom has thoughtfully added items, such as a goldfish bowl, which are thought to direct children into reflective thought.
- Achieving the Montessori Classroom Atmosphere
At this point, you are getting a sense of how the Montessori classroom is structurally arranged, however, there are also more atmospheric elements to take into consideration. Montessori classrooms have natural lighting and soft colours. This contributes to the calming learning environment that is a core element of a Montessori education. The Montessori classroom is also well-organized and uncluttered, featuring couches and rugs; it mimics being at home.
- Age-Related Considerations
There are also age-related considerations to take into account when setting up a Montessori classroom at home. For example, a preschool classroom would have low sinks and tables, and reachable shelves, all of which facilitate independence. A classroom for older children, however, would be more likely to feature large tables for group activities and areas for conducting science experiments.
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