The Montessori Method Series – The Prepared Environment

By Sandrine Lescure

Welcome to the first post in the Montessori Method series!  Each month, I’ll be posting about one aspect of the Montessori Method, in order for parents to better understand this wonderful way of educating children.  Montessori can be both beautifully simple and strangely difficult to understand, if you haven’t been trained in it, and the more that parents understand, the more success children will have in their Montessori years.

This first post deals with the most basic aspect of a Montessori classroom, the prepared environment.  The physical set up of the room is referred to in this way.  The prepared environment means everything in the classroom has a specific purpose, a specific spot where it is always kept, everything in the classroom is child sized, and arranged with facilitating learning and independence first and foremost.  Materials on the shelves are in sequential order from simple, concrete tasks to more challenging, abstract lessons, left to right, top to bottom, just the way we read. Nothing is placed in the room without careful forethought as to how it will function and benefit the students.

There are entire books and scholarly articles on the prepared environment in Montessori, but as an introduction to parents, I’ve found this page is an excellent, detailed explanation of the concept while still being brief.