Montessori education involves free activity within a “prepared environment”, meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives. In addition to offering access to the Montessori materials appropriate to the age of the children, the environment should exhibit the following characteristics:
- An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity
- Beauty and harmony, cleanliness of environment
- Construction in proportion to the child and her/his needs
- Limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child’s development is included
- Nature in the classroom and outside of the classroom
The prepared environment is the cornerstone of the Montessori Method. It invites exploration and leads the child naturally from the concrete to the abstract. The classroom director is the link between the child and the environment.
The classroom is planned very meticulously in Vriksha to offer the best opportunity for the child to explore, investigate and understand his environment.
The classroom is a large open space with materials on low shelves which are accessible to the children readily. Activities are for the most part initially presented by the teacher, after which they may be chosen more or less freely by the children as interest dictates. Classroom materials usually include activities for engaging in practical skills such as pouring and spooning, washing up, scrubbing tables and sweeping. Also materials for the development of the senses, mathematical materials, language materials, music, art and cultural materials.
There are no assigned places for the students and hence they walk around freely in the class choosing activities they are interested in.