Montessori classrooms are often called the ‘prepared environment’ and are designed to meet the physical and psychological needs of the child at each stage of development. Furniture and materials are child-size, appropriate for their height, weight and age. The curriculum is embedded in the hands-on materials and activities in the learning environment.
The beauty, order and accessibility in the classroom entice the child to engage with the activities according to their individual interests and at their own pace. In this way learning becomes highly personalized, embodying the philosophy of Montessori Education.
At the same time, the child learns to interact socially. The three-year age range in each program enables older children to teach the younger and learn from this experience while the younger children are inspired to more advanced work through observing the older ones. With a variety of levels, each child can work at their own pace, unhindered by competition and encouraged by co-operation.
In Montessori Education, the key principles of the Prepared Environment (Classroom Montessori) are:
Independence – facilitators give the children the choice and the freedom to learn on their own by allowing them to ask questions, participate in activities and discover the things inside the Montessori Classroom.
Indirect preparation – teachers set up the classroom in a way that children will be able to participate in individual and group activities that they can learn from and gain experience. This also includes learning the fundamentals and acquiring basic skills for more advanced learning/teachings.
Order – this involves not only the physical order of the classroom but also following the appropriate steps or order that can allow children to grow and develop inside the classroom and in the real world.
Choice – students are given the choice of what they can learn about and what materials inside the classroom they can use to facilitate learning as well as enhance their skills.
Freedom – the children have the freedom to decide the pace of their learning, including the scope and the length, provided that what they do will fulfil the fundamental requirements of learning and not affect students negatively.
Mixed Age Range – in a classroom practicing Montessori education, learning is based on the child’s individual pace and not strictly about age. This makes a Montessori Classroom filled with children from different ages and all with the unique experiences that each one can share and learn with another.
Movement – the students are free and encouraged to move around the classroom, work with other people and explore the materials so long as the wouldn’t distract other people from their own pace of learning.
Control of error – the classroom prepares the child to understand that it is okay to be wrong and that mistakes are not bad, so long as errors are identified and corrected. By assisting students with their thought process, the children are given the opportunity to recognise their mistakes and learn how to arrive at the truth.
Materials – the materials in a prepared environment are the ones which can develop and enhance the thoughts and skills of the student depending on what stage they are at the learning process.
Role of the adult – in a Montessori classroom, adults are not traditional teachers that they discuss topics collectively and tell the students all the answers. In Montessori education, adults are facilitators that teach or assist children how to learn, think and question properly as well as how to work individually and as part of a community.
Our Classroom Montessori Materials
‘Nothing goes into the mind that does not first go through the hands’ (Dr Maria Montessori).
Montessori materials embody the learning curriculum and are designed to stimulate the child into logical thought and independent discovery. They are provocative, enticing and simple to use. However, beneath the beauty and simplicity, lies a deep intentionality.
At a Montessori classroom, each is designed to meet one or more specific needs of the child, and each material or equipment has been developed in the context of all the other materials. Each has what is known as a ‘control of error’. If the child has done something incorrectly it will be self-evident. The geometric shape, for example, won’t fit the hole, or the water will spill on the table. Being able to see his or her own mistake allows the child to work independently.
Rockingham Montessori Classrooms
At Rockingham Montessori School, our classrooms for Montessori learning are set according to the requirements of each aspect of our programs. This includes adding tools and equipment with varying levels of difficulty for activities, the furniture used by students for comfortable learning and the overall environment necessary for the child’s growth and development while learning inside a prepared environment.
Our classrooms for Montessori learning are designed for our Infant & Toddler, Children’s House, Primary and Adolescent Programs.
Infant & Toddler
1 - 3 Years
Our Infant Toddler Program (Playgroup) is the ideal way for your family to experience the Montessori philosophy and practice, while providing toddlers with a gentle transition to the Children’s House.
3 - 6 Years
Rockingham Montessori School has three Children’s House classrooms, named Dolphins, Penguins and Seahorse, reflecting our seaside location. Each is led by a dedicated and highly-trained Montessori teacher.
6 - 12 Years
Rockingham Montessori School has three Lower-Primary classrooms: Jelly Fish, Starfish and Sea Lions, continuing our ocean theme. Teachers are Montessori-trained and work with the help of an education assistant.
12 -18 Years
In Montessori’s third plane of development, from twelve to eighteen years old, the adolescent has a ‘humanistic mind’ eager to understand humanity and the contribution they can make to society.