The main components of Montessori’s method and philosophy are the child, the adult, and the environment. The term “prepared environment” means an environment that is designed to facilitate the maximum independent learning and exploration of the child. In general, the prepared environment helps the full development of the child`s physical and psychical potential.
To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.Dr.Maria Montessori
The environment where the child grows should be ordered, prepared to face all his needs, to support his full development, to ensure his safety, and to let the child act free and learn from his own experience. The prepared environment should be bright, big enough, with well temperature and climate, beautifully arranged, and with interesting and propertied materials for the age of the child. This environment should challenge the child, allow choosing and working.
The Montessori’s prepared environment components are freedom, structure and order, beauty, nature and reality, social environment, and intellectual environment.
Freedom gives the child the opportunity to explore and follow his inner impulses. There is freedom of movements, freedom of exploring, freedom to interact socially, freedom from interference with others, and freedom of choices. The children are sensitive to order, that’s why the environment needs to be clean and ordered, with good structure. Each object and material should have his own place. The prepared environment should be beautiful and arranged with harmony. The furniture should be a child’s sized, made from natural components, as wood, glass, and metal. The child should be free to interact with the other children, this will help him to develop empathy and compassion for the others. All the components of the prepared environment lead to the intellectual development of the child.
The adult is responsible for the child’s environment and for the changes in it. Everything inside the environment should have own place and purpose. The prepared environment should respond to the child’s age and should encourage the child to learn and develop himself independently.
Now the adult himself is part of the child’s environment; the adult must adjust himself to the child’s needs if he is not to be a hindrance to him and if he is not to substitute himself for the child in the activities essential to growth and development.Dr.Maria Montessori, ‘The Secret of Childhood’
As the main part of the prepared environment, the adult should also be prepared. He must speak slow and clear, move slow and coordinated, act with love and support, believe in the child’s possibilities. The absorbent mind of the child takes the adults as an example of human behavior and emotional atmosphere. For that reason, the adult should not forget that his actions reflect on the child. To help the child to grow up as a well-educated person, with strong beliefs and good manners, the adult should prepare himself. The adult is a role model, from which the child takes both good and bad habits. In order to give the child a good example of both behavior and emotions, the adult should do his best.
Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.Dr. Maria Montessori
Each material in the prepared environment should be beautiful, real, if possible, made out of natural material, placed according to the environment order, and one of a kind. The materials help the child to develop himself so that each material has his own purpose. Everything that child comes in contact with should provide independent learning and exploring.
As conclusion, it can be said that the child is a mirror of his environment, as well as a mirror of the adult, who takes care of it. The child absorbs what is surrounding him, so the adult should give his best in both arrange of the prepared environment, according to his observation of the child and behavior of human beings.