The Prepared Environment
Maria Montessori believed that the years from three to six are the most critical for nurturing a child's curiosity and for laying the foundation for all future development. Children of this age possess what Dr. Montessori called the absorbent mind, the ability to absorb all aspects of one's culture and environment without effort or fatigue. Children form themselves by taking what they need from their surrounding environment, whether the environment is rich or poor in opportunities. The prepared environment of a Montessori classroom is designed to aid and honor the natural, universal developmental patterns of children. The materials are child-sized, and have the child's natural interests in mind.
Montessori classroom materials have a real educational purpose inherent within the,; the child makes his own discoveries about his world through his work with these materials.