The Montessori Classroom

A symphony of order and routine

People are often surprised by how orderly the environment is when they visit a Montessori classroom. Everything is in its place, and the children are actively engaged in work. They see children interacting with the materials both independently as well as with their peers. They also observe the teacher facilitating the class by presenting lessons and watching the children.

Dr. Montessori believed that allowing a child to choose and control was essential for positive development. Montessori curriculum does not attempt to implement order on the child. Instead, the environment and curriculum are designed to allow for choices and thus, control.

So, what is the big deal with order? There are different types of order — for example, Temporal Order, which includes the routines and rituals that occur in a predictable linear sequence. Children thrive on knowing what comes next.

Another kind of order is Spatial Order, which is an organized physical layout. Children thrive in an environment where they know where everything is and can access what they need independently.

Studies show that predictability and routines affect overall academic achievement. The stress of the unknown is removed, thus allowing the brain to organize itself. Imagine trying to make cookies where you have to stop at every step to find the ingredients or the tools you need next.

Within each activity, there is also order. An essential part of any lesson is for the child first to know how to set up and layout materials, then figure out what to do next. The routines within each activity are what make learning become internalized knowledge.

In a Montessori community, the order and routine become part of the home experience, which research shows lead to positive outcomes for children.

Montessori becomes a lifestyle, and children become lifelong learners.