Montessori classrooms are typically sunny, inviting spaces with beautiful wood furniture, lots of plants, fish tanks or animal cages, musical instruments, and art objects. Teachers give special attention to creating a safe, well-ordered, aesthetically pleasing, developmentally appropriate environment that will support children’s independence and challenge their intellectual, social, and emotional growth.
Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are encouraged in their natural tendency to purposeful action. Giving children opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with an adult guide inspires their innate passion for learning. The classroom is paradoxically a busy space where children actively engage in activities and a calm, serene space that allows them time for reflection.
Each classroom organizes learning materials in distinct subject areas, arranging them on shelves in order of their complexity. Children are free to move about the room, selecting materials to work on, using the bathroom as needed, taking time out to prepare themselves a snack, mopping up spills as they occur, and only asking teachers or peers for assistance when they feel they need it. Children think that a Montessori classroom is, in the truest sense, their room—a child-sized, child-centered learning community that they help maintain. Their respectful efforts to share the space promote social and emotional learning.