Prepared Environment

"Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment .1"The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment ,and then retaining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.
A Montessori classroom is commonly referred to as a prepared environment.   Here, a learning laboratory has been created in which the child is encouraged to explore, discover, and be creative.   A prepared environment is one where a community of children learns social and academic skills while developing into independent beings.   Maria Montessori realized the unique way in which children learn and understood the notion of a child’s absorbent mind.   “Realizing the absorbent nature of the child’s mind, she has prepared for him a special environment; and then, placing the child within it, has given him freedom to live in it, absorbing what he finds there”.2
    Characteristic of the prepared environment is its abundance of order, beauty, accessibility, and availability of real materials as opposed to toys.   A Montessori classroom is filled with a vast array of sequential learning activities known as Montessori materials.   They are displayed on open shelves, in order, without clutter, and each object has a purpose and special location.   Children gain independence from the prepared environment as they move about choosing their own work and making their own decisions.   Standing (1998) describes that the aim of the prepared environment is to “render the growing child independent of the adult.   That is, it is a place where he can do...