Our Prepared Environments
Get to Know our Environments, Teachers, and Students
The Montessori Prepared Environment
Why does the environment matter?
The prepared environment is a central component of the Montessori philosophy. Through observation, Maria discovered that students naturally learn by absorbing and acting upon their environments. Young children organically absorb information from the world around them, a trait Maria coined the absorbent mind. Even though students outgrow the sensitive period for absorption, all children and adolescents can learn from hands-on experiences. Therefore, the preparedness of the learning environment to provide holistic learning opportunities is critical to students’ development.
A prepared Montessori environment is differentiated by interesting works (developmentally aligned) and a characteristic home-like appeal. Each learning environment at IMS is designed aesthetically yet simplistically with the unique students in that class in mind. Shelves of Montessori and teacher-created materials reflect this balance of beauty and minimalism. Across learning areas, students have access to a range of manipulative materials; this range narrows as learning becomes gradually more abstract. Across levels, students experience going out or field trips that diversify holistic learning opportunities and pique interest. IMS teachers’ loving acceptance and support of our unique students is reflected in the delicate and deliberate preparation of their learning environments including activities, lessons, and materials.
The Montessori Guide: Artist and Scientist
The teacher is an essential element of the prepared environment. As peripheral yet integral features of the environment, IMS teachers are welcoming and kind, neat and organized. The teachers’ presence and attitude models normalization and lifelong learning. Their gracious and courteous nature inspires a peaceful community ready for academic challenges and social experiences.
IMS teachers are not only artists of presentation; they are also scientists of preparation. With the scientific practice of observation and other assessment strategies, Montessori teachers gauge students’ interests and mastery to guide normalization and map progress. Maria wrote that the Montessori teacher’s role is unique because they are continually preparing for students who are not yet there. By anticipating and guiding development, teachers create and guide lessons and activities that serve students’ varied needs and interests. As artists and scientists, IMS teachers follow their students as their leaders.