The Prepared Environment
The children are free to explore all areas of the classroom and are continually observed and evaluated by their teachers. The teachers are “following the child” and acting as personal child development specialists by documenting each child’s interests, strengths and abilities. The teachers then encourage further exploration in areas of interest and introduce unexplored concepts to each child.
The Practical Life area provides daily living activities such as pouring, washing, scrubbing, polishing, buttoning and tying, food preparation and serving etiquette. These actions perfect fine motor skills through order, coordination/control, concentration and independence.
The Sensorial area enables the children to absorb the relationships of objects within his/her world. This area is based on Aristotle’s belief that nothing enters the intellect without first passing through the senses. The child uses sight, sound, smell, taste, touch as well as measurements and weight to categorize, discriminate and appreciate the information being absorbed. All of these activities prepare the child for reading, writing and arithmetic.
The Math area provides the child with concrete materials to manipulate and calculate. These activities introduce mathematical concepts in a fun and stimulating manner and help the child transition to abstract mathematical concepts using paper and pencil.
The Language area contains all of the materials needed for the children to be able to discriminate the symbols and sounds of the alphabet and develop the small muscles needed to grip a pencil and form letters. Activities include opposites, matching, sequence, story telling, rhyming, initial sounds, phonetic blends, word building, sentence structure, creative writing and reading.
The Cultural area encompasses world and regional geography, all of the sciences, nature, time passage and perception, and the appreciation of ethnic heritage, food, clothing and customs.
Finally, no classroom would be complete without a fully stocked art area, a comfortable quiet corner for children to relax with books, and a nutritious snack buffet and table to perfect social graces and chat with a friend.