What Does A Montessori Classroom Look Like?
The first thing you’ll notice will probably be the children, and these children will be a range of ages, all in together. Montessori education does not stratify children by age group, and having mixed ages in the classroom is important for children’s social development. The next thing you’ll notice is that the traditional rows of seats are missing. There are indeed seats and desks, but they are usually placed in a way that children can work in a group or alone on an activity you won’t see the desks oriented towards a focus point in the room. You’ll also see a fair bit of empty floor space where children will be able to roll out mats or work with sets of things on the floor. You will probably also notice that the classroom has plenty of furniture suitable for children’s smaller bodies. And you’ll see shelves lots of shelves holding the different pieces of equipment.
The classroom will probably also be very neat. Montessori education puts a great deal of emphasis on responsibility and order, and on looking after one’s self, so the equipment will not be lying higgledy-piggledy all over the place but each set of items will have its own place on the shelves. The children are expected to and do put away their gear after they have finished working on it.
As you look more closely, you’ll probably also notice the distinctive Montessori materials on the shelves the collections of cylinders, tubs, blocks and rods that are designed to help children grasp basic physical and mathematical properties regarding volume, length, size and weight.
If you were stepping into a Montessori classroom for the first time, by this point you should probably stop staring because the teacher will be trying to introduce him/herself to you, modelling good manners and courtesy to the children at the centre.