Another very important aspect of the Montessori philosophy is that of the prepared environment. The prepared environment is meant to engage children in active, creative, and meaningful exploration, play, and inquiry. Everything that children come in contact with facilitates and maximizes independent learning and exploration. This is a calm, well-ordered environment that has a lot of movement and activity. Children are free to choose, play and work on activities at their own pace, experiencing a combination of freedom and self-discipline, guided by the environment.
Our staff adheres to the concept that children must be free to explore and follow their individual natural interests, thereby developing their potential and increasing their knowledge of the world around them. Within the prepared environment, the child must experience the freedom of movement, freedom of exploration, freedom to interact socially, and freedom from interference from others. Most importantly the freedom of choice.
The Educara environment provides a wealth of interesting objects and open-ended materials for children to explore with their senses, manipulate, and investigate. The environment is designed to elicit curiosity, investigation and provide challenges that are responsive to individual capabilities extending the boundaries of their learning. We also believe that we should use nature to inspire children. This is why natural materials are preferred in our environment. Real wood, reeds, bamboo, metal, cotton, and glass are preferred to synthetics or plastics.
Also, child-size real objects are used throughout the environment. Furniture is child-sized so the child is not dependent on an adult for his movement. All tools and play objects such as rakes, hoes, pitchers, tongs, shovels should all fit children’s hands and height allowing children to use them without frustration.
Educara uses the environment as a microcosm of the world around us. Within this environment the child begins to internalize the order and structure surrounding him, thus making sense of the world in which he lives. To ensure environments and experiences reflect and are relevant to children’s everyday lives. Educara is committed to connecting with families and communities and inviting their participation in developing the environment.
We provide a social environment that promotes the freedom to interact, where children learn and are encouraged to develop a sense of compassion and empathy for others. The environment aims to optimize the development of social interaction, preparing children to engage and play in group settings.
The purpose of the Educara environment is to develop the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellect. By guiding the child through the five areas of the Montessori curriculum (Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Cultural subjects), the child is immersed in an environment that is at the forefront of the creative work in our classrooms. Through developmentally appropriate, sensorial material that promotes play and inquiry and moves hierarchically from simple to complex and concrete to abstract, children are given the freedom to fully develop their unique potential and increasing awareness and understanding of key concepts, including those associated with literacy and numeracy.
Daily logs and semi-annual progress reports are the key means of documenting and making children’s thinking, learning, and competence visible to children, families, and others. Further to these formal communications, staff is encouraged to dialog with children and families on a daily basis.