The organisation of space in a Montessori school is very important. The environment constructed for the child must be a real life environment that is specifically appropriate for the children who occupy it. The school serves a diverse group of children and it has to prepare and adapt to welcoming children of different ages, interests and various needs. In the classrooms, the organization of space, furniture, activities and materials can determine children’s behavioral patterns. Functionality, simplicity, order and aesthetically pleasing environments are reassuring characteristics that promote positive responses and increased engagement.
Furniture and other objects in the environment have to be child-size and match the ages and bodies of children in order to promote autonomous activity. For the same educative purpose:
“Children’s furniture, tables and chairs, must be “light” not only to be moved easily by a child’s arms, but for their own education. And for the same criteria that ceramic plates, glasses and breakable ornaments are given to children. Incidentally these objects are the “markers” of rough and erratic movements. Therefore the child is able to correct himself and tries not to hit, spill or break, manipulating his movements so that he gradually becomes a perfect owner and manager…”. Maria Montessori.
The environment of Montessori School, is organised into areas, each one dedicated to a specific activity: reading, writing, the sciences, drawing, manipulation, water, and practical life. Relevant materials are neatly displayed in their areas to allow children direct access. “The school should become the place where the child can live freely”.
Setting up the environment is one of the teacher’s most important tasks. Activities are chosen based on the different learning stages, interests and needs of each age group. Wood is the preferred material as it is pleasing to the eye and touch.