The Montessori classroom is a happy one. A home away from home full of friends. It is a place full of interesting things to do, but also a place where you can take time out and just be quiet if you want to. It is somewhere where you can grow up knowing that you belong and that you are special.
The layout of the classroom encourages exploration, communication and the development of relationships on all levels. Everything reflects a dedication to quality, beauty and to the children’s abilities to do things for themselves. Montessori saw that careful preparation of the environment is an essential ingredient for the successful development of children. She realised that the child relies completely on the environment for the sensorial impressions through which he gains a sense of the world in which he lives. She therefore paid a great deal of attention to the way in which Montessori schoolrooms were laid out. She wanted the classroom to be a happy, friendly place where children felt at home, where they knew where everything was and where they didn’t always have to rely on adults to help them.
Everything in a Montessori classroom is made to be easily accessible to the children. Montessori was the first educator to produce child-sized tables and chairs and to think about the fact that children need to have cupboards and shelves at their own height. She wanted the children to feel that the schoolroom belonged to them rather than the teachers. She knew that order is very important to children and she therefore ensured that everything had its place and that all materials were kept as neatly as possible. She created materials that she saw the children were drawn to and she removed those items in which they showed no interest. She tried to ensure that the materials provided met the interests of the children. It was the children who led her development of the materials and the children who showed her how the environment should be prepared.