"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult."
Our Montessori classroom is a community of children from a multiage span of three to four years, from 2 ½ to 6 years old. This creates a “family” like group where older children model and help care for younger children, and younger children look up to and learn from the older children. Varying levels of ability blend easily in a multiage setting, no child feels left behind and everyone learns at their own pace.
The Montessori environment is carefully created by the Lead Guide who takes into consideration the developmental stages, natural tendencies and the interests of each learner, when arranging, creating and presenting individual work in the classroom. The word “work” is used, as opposed to play, as every activity the child does has a specific purpose and is designed to be as close to real world experiences as possible. Dr. Montessori observed that the child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. The child works, however, not as an adult, for completion of a job, but for the sake of an activity itself. It is this activity, which enables the child to accomplish their most important goal: the development of the self –mental, physical, and psychological powers.
In a Montessori setting, guides refrain from comparing students to one another and base evaluations on the progress of the individual. Children are encouraged to work together as well as independently. Often a more experienced child will be asked to assist a less experienced child with an activity or lesson. Group discussion and problem solving are strongly encouraged. Guides work to create a sense of community within the classroom. Children feel a sense of belonging and responsibility toward their classroom and toward each other.