How is a Montessori classroom different from traditional classrooms?
The best way to learn about Montessori education is to visit a Montessori classroom and see and feel the difference yourself. You can do a google search and find lots of articles about it but you have to experience it first hand to know how it is different. Montessori classrooms are beautiful, appealing, carefully arranged and prepared and they incorporate all the elements of Maria Montessori’s revolutionary approach.
Flooded with lots of natural lighting, the uncluttered, carefully prepared Montessori classrooms offer a setting for ‘work’ that is calming and allows the children to focus. The Montessori didactic materials, thoughtfully created by Dr. Montessori are displayed on shelves that are scaled down to children’s height, fostering independence as students go about their work. Everything is where it is supposed to be and always returned to the right spot, conveying a sense of harmony and order that both comforts and inspires.
Some features of a Montessori classroom are:
- The design reflects a learning environment that accommodates choice
- You will not find traditional desks and chairs. You may see children working at tables or on the floor by rolling out their work mats to work on and define their workspace.
- The Montessori philosophy is to follow the child, hence the classroom is designed to encourage different learning styles. There are spaces for group activity as well as areas for independent work.
- You will find open spaces in the classroom where children can spread out their work either with a partner or independently
- The walls are clean and not cluttered with decorations
- Each Montessori classroom is clearly divided into 5 curricular areas:
- Practical Life
- Many Montessori classrooms have a peace corner
- There is a classroom library or a book corner, where children can read or be read to
- In Montessori-inspired classrooms, you may also see areas that encourage pretend play like block corners, play kitchens, etc.
We invite you to come and visit to see the unique features of a Montessori classroom for yourself!
By Saniya Mehdi, Director of Early Childhood Program
After teaching at The Caedmon School for 9 years in all of the grades of the Early Childhood Program, Saniya Mehdi became Director of Early Childhood in 2017. Saniya received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Pakistan and upon moving to New York City, she received a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College Columbia University. She completed the Administrator Montessori certification program through WSMS-TEP. Saniya was born and raised in Pakistan and when not busy at Caedmon or raising her three daughters, she enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.