As many of you know, the aesthetics of the Montessori classroom is vital. We thought we would take this opportunity to explain the reason we display the materials so carefully, in such a neat and orderly fashion on the shelves.
First, we believe that the activities must be appealing to the children. We want the materials to entice the students, to call out to the them. After all, no one enjoys trying to engage with a new task, seeing that the activity is out of place or missing pieces or entirely disheveled.
Imagine, for instance, picking out a brand new car, having decided to purchase it, and then finding that someone had already driven it around the block, leaving it unsightly, with spent wrappers on the floor. You're less inclined to be inspired.
Second, following Maria Montessori, we believe that outer order leads to inner order, and that if the materials are displayed in an orderly fashion, children will naturally develop that sense of order.
Here's an example: Many students, when they're first exploring the brown stairs, have a tough time putting them in descending order while working with them on the floor mat. Then, however, since Montessori students put their work away, the children return the brown stairs to the shelves, returning them in order!
In this photo, a student is returning his work, rearranging the brown stairs just so. We're sure that you have stories about order. We'd love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.