A prepared environment

The Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment that is learner centered and developmentally appropriate. Children are free to be in motion, choose their work, and love to learn. Montessori students are independent and respectful individuals. The self-paced program based on the individual needs of the student fosters confident, responsible learners.

Montessori materials are an integral part of the prepared environment. The materials are multi-sensory to assist the students in mastering concepts such as math and language. The materials encourage students to work independently and at their own pace. Learning is individualized so children quick to learn are never slowed down, and children who need more repetition to learn get the repetition they need. The classroom schedule allows large blocks of time for work. The uninterrupted time allows for completion of work as opposed to the stop and go schedule of traditional schools.

Traditional classroom vs Montessori classroom


  • Emphasis placed on rote learning & social behavior
  • Teacher controls the classroom
  • Teacher is the only disciplinarian in the classroom
  • Primarily group instruction
  • Teaching is conducted by teacher
  • Same age children and teacher assigns work
  • Teacher instructs child on concepts
  • Specific time allotted on projects
  • Learning pace set by group
  • External reinforcement of learning success
  • Rewards and punishments
  • Assigned a specific location in class
  • Group participation required
  • Self-care left to parents


  • Emphasis placed on cognition and social formation
  • Teacher as guide of classroom
  • Environment and method promote self-discipline
  • Primarily individual instruction
  • Teacher encourages collaboration
  • Mixed age children and child chooses their own work
  • Self-teaching materials help child learn
  • Child is allocated time for lessons
  • Learning pace set by individual student
  • Internal reinforcement of learning success
  • Personal feelings of progress
  • Child is free to work in the classroom
  • Group participation elective
  • Self-care learned

Education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.
— Maria Montessori