The curriculum is designed to intrigue children and develop in them a lifelong love of learning. In the early years, lessons are introduced concretely to the children. Later on, the lessons are reintroduced at increasing degrees of complexity and abstraction. The curriculum is also carefully constructed and integrated to demonstrate the connections between different areas of study (ex. Architecture+Art+Science+Technology=History). This fosters critical thinking and encourages research. Another aspectof the curriculum and the classroom in general, is that children aren’t afraid to make mistakes. Montessori teaches children that making mistakes are a part of learning and mastering a skill.
Children love to be involved in the self-directed purposeful activities that a Montessori classroom provides. Each classroom is carefully prepared by the teacher or guide. The classrooms are bright and exciting places to learn. Classrooms are child-centered. The desks and all the furniture and materials are child-sized. This was an idea conceived by Dr. Maria Montessori. She realized that children were much more successful in an environment fit for them. The arrangement of the class is also consciously constructed so that it minimizes congestion and keeps students from bumping into one another. Dr. Montessori also realized that the children enjoyed sitting on the floor so, she brought in small mats for them to sit and work on. This is a practice still in use today.
The materials in a Montessori classroom are quite distinctive and unique. They are colorful, inviting and fill the classroom. They are meticulously arranged and ordered. It is very important for all of the parts and pieces of each material to be available so that the child gets the most out of it. All of the materials are “self-correcting”, which enables a child to know when the material isn’t in order or fully completed. This is also called Control of Error so that the child gets instant feedback from the material without having to ask a teacher or guide if it is correct. The materials can be divided into different categories. The younger students (Infant-6 years old) usually work with Sensorial and Practical Life Materials; while the older children (6-12 years old) tend to work with subject specific materials.