Maria Montessori realized that children were learning best by utilizing the world around them and by driving their own education, interest, and abilities. The Montessori classroom looks similar to many classrooms, but is much busier, well-organized, and communal. For some, it appears to be chaotic and uncontrolled, but to the trained Montessori observer, it is quite the opposite. Some crucial elements include uninterrupted periods of work time, guided choices of work activities, and multi-age groupings of students to promote community learning. There are also specially designed learning materials that are organized specifically for children to be able to access and use as they wish. Lastly, the Montessori classroom has a teacher as a facilitator, instead of instructor.
Harmony and peace are major components to the Montessori classroom environment. Montessori teachers focus on teaching harmony and grace in the very first days of class. Along with teaching those virtues, a peaceful environment is also encouraged. This is why many Montessori classrooms require children to wear slippers in class as opposed to hard-soled shoes. Staff members and children are also encouraged to use calm and quiet voices.
Video: Introduction to Montessori and the Montessori Foundation Source: Tim Seldin 8:13 minutes
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