Students learn best within an environment prepared to nurture and enhance each student’s unique development.
- Multi-Age Groupings – Elementary Montessori classrooms are comprised of multi-age groupings. This is the practice of teaching students of different ages and abilities together without organizing either the curriculum or the classroom by age or grade designations. The students remain in the same classroom, with the same instructors, for several years.
- Classroom Areas – The elementary Montessori classroom is divided into distinct curriculum areas: Science, Geography, History, Art, Math and Language. Many of these subjects are then organized into separate skill areas. There is a large floor area for spreading out work and gathering in for community meetings and lessons. There are tables for individual and group activities. The students have notebooks for recording their work and folders to store ongoing projects. Group supplies are located in a central area. A message board displays the day’s schedule as well as reminders and announcements. A wide variety of plants and animals are located throughout the classroom. Arrangements of cut flowers often decorate the tables and music is almost always playing in the background. Replicas of artists’ work adorn the walls. Cleaning materials are accessible to the students since they are custodians of their classroom. A library is located nearby and available for the students to visit in order to support their research and interests.
- Materials – The wealth of materials in each area allows the students to follow their own interests. Materials are arranged so as to allow sequential progress in skills. Usually there is only one example of each material to encourage turn taking and patience. Materials and their activities vary from individual work to partner work to group activities. The materials are aesthetically pleasing with a great many being teacher-made. Many of the materials employ an internal control of error so as to encourage self-monitoring and foster independence in the elementary student.