The “prepared environment” is a crucial principle of Montessori philosophy, referring to the classroom’s physical, instructional, and spiritual aspects, including the teachers and children. Spiritual, in this sense, is a secular reference to peace of mind, enabling the teacher and student to engage in learning in a calm environment and manner. The environment is entirely tailored to children’s needs.
Dr. Maria Montessori’s “follow the child” philosophy is often misinterpreted to mean that children are allowed to do whatever they want in a classroom. In reality, children are allowed freedom within limits to develop to their full potential. They are guided by Montessori-credentialed teachers in a classroom with specific Montessori materials and lessons in language arts, mathematics, practical life, and cultural subjects.