ORDERLY ENVIRONMENT IN THE CLASSROOM AND AT HOME – PART ONE
The environment that a child lives in can largely be divided into two – the classroom environment and the home environment. A child learns from everywhere but mostly from the school and from his home. Both environments are crucial for the wholesome development of the child.
In schools, a lot of effort is made by the teachers and school administrators to create and maintain an environment that is conducive for the children’s learning. Montessorians take the child’s environment very seriously because they know that the child, the teacher and the environment all work together to form a ‘learning triangle’, where the child would thrive. Montessori teachers carefully prepare the classroom environment by ensuring that the following are in place:
Beauty and Order: Materials are clean and in good repair; shelves are clean, uncluttered and within reach of the children; materials are arranged in sequence within each shelve.
Procedures and Routines: Children work independently, follow directions, open and close doors quietly; handle materials with respect; clean up after themselves and put materials back to their original locations.
Grace and Courtesy: Children speak to each other quietly and peacefully; move carefully and calmly; follow set-up process for conflict resolution; know how to apologise and use important words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’.
Work Habits: Children engage in individual work, small groups and whole groups. They are given opportunities to make independent choices; they show persistence, confidence and concentration in their work;
Montessori Teacher’s Approach: The teacher’s voice is quiet and firm; she approaches a child at his level, moves carefully and calmly; uses lesson plans and record-keeping system; and presents lessons at various parts of the classroom. The teacher keeps the environment fresh and engaging by observing how the children respond to their surroundings and adapt to changes.
Space Organisation and Maintenance: The walls and classrooms are attractive and space well used; seating areas are arranged with child-sized tables and chairs; the daily class schedule is pasted where children can see it and at their level; Montessori materials are available for each learning area and displayed appropriately.
With such an environment, it is not surprising that Montessori children are able to develop essential life skills necessary for success in adulthood.
Keep a date with me in the next issue of the magazine to explore how the home environment can be organised to complete the ‘Learning Triangle’.